Bond set for Spencer High teacher, no contact with student

Local News
UPDATE: 

The case of a Spencer High teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has been bound over to Superior Court.

31-year-old Antonio Rainey appeared in Recorder’s Court Friday afternoon.

The judge agreed to issue a $10,000 bond to the suspect. An agreement was made, the suspect must stay away and have no contact with the victim.

“He actually has an attorney, Charles Cox from Macon who is going to be representing him in Superior Court and that’s where the case will be bound over and everything else on the case will happen there,” said Columbus Attorney Mark Shelnutt.

The student’s identity is not being released. According to Shelnutt the student is 18-years-old. Despite the student being of legal age, Columbus Police say the teacher was still in violation.

UPDATE

A former teacher at Spencer High School has been arrested after being accused of Sexual Misconduct with a student.

The Columbus Police Department says 31-year-old Antonio Rainey was arrested Wednesday. The Muscogee County School District and police began investigating after sexual assault allegations between a teacher and a student surfaced on social media.

A spokesperson with the MCSD says Rainey is no longer employed with the school. Rainey is charged with Felony Sexual Assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority. He is scheduled to appear in Recorder’s Court Friday at 2 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY:

COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) – COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) –Columbus Police confirm an investigation is ongoing in the Muscogee County School District following allegations of a sexual relationship between a student and teacher.

Columbus Police confirm they are working closely with the MCSD to thoroughly investigate the allegations made over social media.

“We have a great relationship with the Muscogee County school District, so whatever we need as far as investigations, we can pick up that phone, go there, and they are very forthcoming very cooperative, and they give us whatever we need,” says Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick with Columbus Police.

The MCSD reports the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

CPD says, regardless of the student’s age, the authoritative relationship between a teacher and a student overrides the age of consent.

“Those students are confined to a specific institution, so they cannot leave, so therefore that adult has authority over them, regardless to their age. They can consent by law at the age of 16, but you also have that piece, where if you are a student and teacher relationship,” says Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick.

According to police, nationwide these relationships may be becoming more common.

“Is this common? No, it’s not uncommon. It’s not the first time allegations have been made against teachers. Nationwide, we see a lot of this. Now do we see a lot of this in the Muscogee County School District, we don’t see it often, but we see it,” says Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick, “In today’s society, I hate to say it but teacher-student relationships are becoming commonplace nationwide. Things have changed in the world, and you have more mature students, more younger teachers. There’s a lot of school policies that were upgraded or more relaxed now, more than when I was in school.”

Lt. Dent-Fitzpatrick says education may also come into play as victims may be more likely to come forward and students are frequently instructed to “see something, say something”.

The names of those involved, as well as the school, will not be released while the investigation is ongoing. The Muscogee County School District sites the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA 1974).

Columbus Police say they take these allegations seriously.

“There are very serious allegations made by a victim. We were given information via social media. We’ve opened up an investigation and we are actively working it. We have a lot of people to talk to. Detectives are very mindful and careful about what they do and how they proceed.with this. Again, these are allegations. Serious allegations, and we want to proceed with caution, and not be accusatory and judgemental. We need to get the facts before we start presenting things to the public.”

Stay with News 3 for updates.

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