Knoxville News Sentinel [Knoxville TN]
January 12, 2023
By Tyler Whetstone,
The charge against the 26-year-old is used against defendants who are in a position of authority over a juvenile
- Police arrested the former middle school teacher on Monday and took him to Blount County to face charges.
- Joseph “Kade” Abbott was on the Apostolic Christian Academy staff list as recently as August.
- Apostolic Christian Academy, based in Maryville, is the school housed in First Apostolic Church.
- Leaders of the school and church did not return requests for comment about the former middle school teacher.
A former teacher at the Apostolic Christian Academy in Maryville has been arrested on a felony charge that he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl, Knox News has learned.
Joseph “Kade” Abbott was arrested in North Carolina and taken to the Blount County jail on Monday, according to sheriff’s office spokesperson Marian O’Briant. Abbott is being held on a $200,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is Jan. 18.
Police began investigating Abbott in June after he was accused of sexually abusing the teenager. The case still is under investigation, O’Briant said, who declined to give additional details because the investigation is ongoing and involves a juvenile.
Abbott, 26, is not listed as a school employee, but appeared on Apostolic Christian Academy’s staff list as a middle school teacher as recently as August, according to a search of internet archives by Knox News. He moved two months ago to a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the arrest warrant.
The charge, sexual battery by an authority figure, is used against defendants who use their job or legal status to take advantage of their victim, or have parental or custodial authority.
A spokesperson for the school did not return a call from Knox News requesting comment. Knox News received no response to a list of questions sent to a general school inbox or to a text message sent to senior pastor Kenneth Carpenter.
The school’s attorney, Alyssa Minge, did not respond to a list of questions other than to say Abbott was no longer an employee of the school.
“We cannot comment on matters involving pending litigation. Our prayers are with everyone involved,” she wrote in an email to Knox News.
Apostolic Christian Academy is the school housed inside First Apostolic Church of Maryville, a mammoth building that towers over William Blount Drive.
In 2018, the school and a connected day care announced they had achieved Partner in Prevention status, a designation given by the nonprofit Darkness to Light to organizations that take extra steps to protect the children they serve by training staff to understand child sexual abuse, identify unsafe situations and react responsibly in the best interest of children.