Former Cleveland Teacher's Aide Accused Of First-Degree Rape

Thursday, May 17th 2018, 7:23 pm
By: News On 6

A Cleveland High School para-professional is behind bars on a complaint of first-degree rape. She's accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student.

The mother of the 17-year-old student told police she considered Darla McCullough a family friend.

McCullough told police she's known the 17-year-old since he was in middle school and their paths crossed again when he started at the high school where she worked.

"This looks like a clear case of a predator that preyed on a child. This suspect was a close family friend, had access to the child, had gained the trust of the child's family and used that for their own gratification," Cleveland Police Chief Clint Stout said.

Police say the relationship lasted several months.

According to an affidavit, McCullough admitted to having sex with the student at the Baptist Village. She says she took "Plan B" at one point after having unprotected sex with the victim.

The affidavit says McCullough also admitted to unlocking doors at school so the two could kiss throughout the day.

"She had plenty of time to stop this relationship but she continued to go forward with it," Stout said.

During an interview, the 17-year-old told police he hid McCullough's number in his phone under the name Kendra. He confirmed the sexual relationship with her, saying he believed he was in love.

Stout believes the teenager is a victim and said he isn't the only one.

"The Baptist Village, their trust was just taken away. They are a victim in this. The school is a victim. The school trusted her to do a job and to protect a child not to harm a child," he said.

The district also released a statement saying, in part, "It's unfortunate an employee took advantage of her privileges as a staff worker to manipulate the situation. The district performs background checks for all school employees."