A teacher in Tennessee has been arrested and charged with raping a boy at her home in 2021, and authorities say she's accused of sexual misconduct with "multiple juveniles."
Alissa McCommon, 38, of Covington, had been under investigation after allegations of inappropriate contact with children under 18 when she was arrested on Friday, according to the Covington Police Department.
Last month, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services contacted police about allegations of sexual misconduct that had been reported involving a teacher and a former student. McCommon, a teacher at Challenger Academy, was suspended without pay on Aug. 24 after a parent came forward with allegations of abuse, school officials said, according to CBS affiliate WREG-TV.
After that, "multiple juvenile victims" said they became friends with their former teacher, then began playing video games and interacting with her on social media, police said.
That led to McCommon "allegedly sending inappropriate photographs and requesting sexual relations with the victims," police said.
McCommon is accused of having a sexual encounter with a boy aged 12 years or younger at her home in 2021, according to Covington Police Chief Donna Turner, WREG reported.
"Covington Police Department Detectives continue to investigate this terrible exploitation and abuse of these young boys," Turner said in a statement. "We expect to also develop the investigation to determine accountability of other adults in the case, including those who were aware of the abuse, and those who allowed or provided locations for such illegal acts to occur."
Authorities said there was no evidence that any of the alleged activities occurred on any school campus.
During the investigation, McCommon admitted to communicating inappropriately with former students, police said.
"It is unbearable. It's unspeakable and it's 100 percent preventable. I think that's why the detectives and we are so passionate about making sure victims are okay," Turner said, according to WREG.
WREG-TV quoted McCommon's attorneys as saying she maintains her innocence.
"We believe that it's borderline a witch hunt on social media and that's frustrating to us," defense attorney Jere Mason said. "What we're asking is that the public be patient and allow the justice system to do it's job and not create further persecution on the alleged victims or on the family of the defendant."
McCommon was charged with rape of a child and was being held on a $25,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 13.
The Tipton County Sheriff's Office confirmed that it was working with the Covington Police Department on the case and was continuing to gather evidence.
"Remember, although we work for the public and our citizens, our victims are a priority," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "I assure you we are being thorough with the investigation and the process at hand."
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