Kearney teacher accused of having sex with 14-year-old girl


A Kearney Junior High School algebra teacher is no longer with the district after he was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student.

Rhett C. Rigby of Oak Grove was charged with 10 felony counts including second-degree statutory rape and sodomy.

The girl told authorities that they had sexual relations inside Rigby's classroom and at her home. She said they exchanged nude pictures of each other via cell phone, and they had sex twice at her residence and at least twice inside the classroom since last fall.

In an interview May 16, the girl told police that she had feared she had become pregnant and he had her take a pregnancy test, which was negative. She claimed that he would have forced her to have an abortion if she had been pregnant, according to court records.

In an interview with Kearney school administrators, Rigby denied having sexual relations with the girl. He said he had not sent pictures of himself or received pictures of students on his cell phone, according to police.

An administrator found a pregnancy test package in Rigby's desk drawer. One of the tests was gone while the second, unused test remained in the packaging.

As administrators were preparing to place Rigby on paid administrative leave, he allegedly called the girl and told her to tell police and school administrators that she made up the accusations because she was mad at him. She promised she would lie.

On Thursday, the girl provided more details to authorities about her sexual relations with the teacher, according to court documents.

Rigby's attorney refused to allow his client to speak with authorities. Bond was set at $100,000.

According to court records, Rigby told the girl that he was fired from the district on May 14.

The district says Rigby submitted his resignation in February, which would take effect at the end of the school year.

After learning about the allegations, Rigby was placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. This occurred on May 14. He was on paid leave until May 30, which was the last day of classes and when his planned resignation took effect.

"He will be paid the terms of his contract for the entire 2012-2013 school year," the district said in a statement.

The district stressed that school officials work to protect students and student safety is the top priority.

"The district takes all allegations of staff misconduct seriously, investigates such allegations promptly and thoroughly, and takes appropriate action to ensure the safety of its students," according to the district' statement.

In this particular case, the district said officials "promptly reported the matter to outside investigative agencies, including law enforcement, to facilitate a comprehensive investigation into the allegations.

The statement goes on to say, "The district will continue to cooperate fully with all investigating authorities and communicate with the student and her family. Because of the nature of these allegations and the ongoing investigation, the prosecuting attorney has asked the district not to comment further on this case."

Junior high students said they didn't believe it when the allegations first surfaced through the school rumor mill, because they found Rigby to be a nice guy and never saw him overstepping boundaries.

According to a baseball team website, Rigby graduated in 2006 from Oak Grove High School. While there he lettered in four sports and was a four-year starter for the varsity baseball team. He attended Longview Community College from 2006-08. His first year there his team was the national champions and his second year they finished third. He was named All-Regional and All-American in 2008. He holds the school record for most stolen bases in a season. He finished his career at Pittsburg State University where he was named MIAA All-Conference and holds the MIAA record for most home runs in one game. He graduated in 2010 with a math degree.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.



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