RICHMOND — A Madison Middle School teacher's assistant admitted that he exchanged inappropriate text messages with a student, but said he is not guilty of the crime with which he was charged last week, according to a statement released Monday.
Brandon Clay Rousey, 23, was arrested Nov. 17 and charged with unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities. The Madison County Sheriff's Department said Rousey sent more than 100 text messages to a 13-year-old student in which he requested sexual favors from the teen-ager.
"I am not guilty of the crime I am accused of, but that does not mean I didn't do anything wrong," Rousey wrote in a letter given to the Herald-Leader Monday by Rousey's attorney, Wesley Browne. "I am very ashamed of my behavior."
In his statement, Rousey said nothing inappropriate took place between him and the student except the text messages.
"That conduct is bad enough, and I will regret it for the rest of my life," he wrote.
The sheriff's department has said that as many as eight girls could have had similar contact with Rousey, but the teacher's assistant denied that more than one student was involved.
"Although a couple other students sent me one or two text messages, they were not of the same nature and it did not continue," Rousey wrote.
Detective Steve King of the Madison County Sheriff's Department said Rousey, an Eastern Kentucky University AmeriCorps volunteer, was a popular assistant at the school. He coached basketball and football in some capacity for a few years before he became a language arts teacher's assistant Oct. 1.
Deputies say Rousey began sending messages at the end of October and continued to do so for nearly a month, sometimes during school hours. The student involved sent text messages back to Rousey, but it is unclear who initiated the correspondence, Madison County Sheriff Nelson O'Donnell said.
The content of the messages "would shock the conscience of an adult, let alone a 13-year-old," O'Donnell said last week.
The sheriff's department began to investigate allegations against Rousey after two sets of parents contacted the department Nov. 16 about Rousey's relationship with their 13-year-old daughters. The next day, Rousey admitted to deputies that he had sent messages to one of those girls, the department said.
Rousey appeared briefly before Madison District Judge Earl Ray Neal Monday morning for his arraignment. The case was waived to the grand jury. Rousey was released from the Madison County jail last week after posting a $5,000 full cash bond.
In his letter, Rousey thanked the people who have supported and prayed for him. He also apologized to his family, Madison Middle, the Madison County Board of Education and the EKU AmeriCorps program.
"I specifically want to apologize to the young woman involved and her parents," he wrote. "I only ask that you forgive me if you can."