A 27-year-old Independence school teacher has been charged with sex crimes with one of his students.
James N. Owens faces one count of enticement of a child, a felony, and second-degree child molestation, a misdemeanor.
Most parents were made aware of the situation by automated voicemail Tuesday, explaining that the superintendent has put the wheels in motion to have the William Chrisman High School band teacher fired.
The mother of a student at the high school said her son will likely be showing up Wednesday with a mission to spread a message.
"He'll be talking to his female friends, his classmates; you know, it's OK to tell. He'll be giving them the backbone that they need, the support that they need," parent Michelle Miller said.
In this case, it wasn't the 14-year-old girl who told on Owens but the girl's parents, who saw a series of sexually tinged Facebook chats between the two.
And although the girl described kissing and touching, one Facebook chat, quoted in charging documents, suggested activities far more adult than that simple description would suggest.
It was August when her parents came to the school. The school called police, who documented 100 telephone calls between the two from June to August and the 1,520 text messages in that time.
Court documents say the girl eventually told her counselor, "She had been involved in a romantic relationship with Owens since March 2012. She advised the relationship involved kissing and touching, and that contact occurred in the school, sometimes in the band room."
"She's a child. She's doesn't know what an actual romantic relationship should entail. She should be going to a movie and holding somebody's hand," Miller said. "It's not something you do with a grown man."
Superintendent Dr. Jim Hinson said in a written statement that the district immediately put Owens on leave, and he has not been back at school since.
"The allegations were brought to the district's attention more than three months ago," Hinson explained. "The district has been doing its own investigation and doing everything possible to aid police with their investigation,"
Hinson also said police requested the school not release information on the allegations until they were ready to pursue charges.
Prosecutors have requested a bond of $75,000 for Owens.
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