Teacher Charged with Aggravated Statutory Rape

State Gazette
October 17, 2013

A 37-year-old third-grade teacher at Christ Classical Academy in Dyersburg was arrested on Tuesday on three counts of aggravated statutory rape.

Beth Scearce of Halls, Tenn. was reportedly arrested by Lauderdale County law enforcement officials on Tuesday at Christ Classical Academy and booked into the Lauderdale County Jail on the charges.

According to a court affidavit, Scearce had allegedly had sexual intercourse with two males under the age of 18. One of the victims reportedly told a law enforcement official with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office that he had sex with Scearce on three occasions in the fall of 2012.

Christ Classical Academy Principal Janice Young stated Scearce was a third-grade teacher and she was in her second year of teaching at the school. However, she added that Scearce is now on leave. Although not naming Scearce directly as the person involved in the arrest, Young released a prepared statement about the arrest.

It reads:

"Christ Classical Academy is both surprised and shocked at the recent arrest of an employee of the Academy. Per School Board policy, the employee has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation and any subsequent criminal charges.

"Initially, it should be noted that there is no indication that any students or other employees of Christ Classical Academy were either in any way involved or even aware of the underlying conduct leading to the criminal charges made public yesterday. Obviously, the Academy is not in a position to be aware of all conduct or communications between its employees and third parties or other persons not associated with the Academy in any way.

"In the meantime, any further information regarding this matter, insomuch as it affects or relates to the Academy, shall be limited to that provided by counsel for Christ Classical with regard to this matter."

Tennessee law defines aggravated statutory rape as the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least 13 but less than 18 years of age and the defendant is at least 10 years older than the victim.

The charge is a Class D felony and carries a possible 2-12-year sentence.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lauderdale County Jail officials said Scearce remains in jail without bond and no definite court date has been set for her.








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