Berryhill Teacher Arrested On Rape Complaint

A Berryhill teacher has been arrested on a complaint of first-degree rape, according to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Tuesday, January 14th 2020, 6:32 pm

By: Justin Shrair

Prosecutors charged a Berryhill teacher with rape after she was accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Joyce Churchwell turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest Tuesday. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said they believe there could be more victims out there. 

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said Joyce Churchwell is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy during the 2018 to 2019 school year.

"He admitted that this encounter had taken place at the teacher’s home along with another adult female - a former teacher at the school district," said Casey Roebuck, communications director for TCSO.

TCSO said the investigation started last month after someone tipped off the school resource officer. They said after talking with witnesses and looking through electronics, they determined Churchwell had talked with the student on the social media app Snapchat.

“Had asked him to come over to her home and had this encounter with this other woman," said Roebuck.

TCSO said they also learned that Churchwell had messaged inappropriate messages to another student who did not follow through.

News On 6 has also obtained a federal lawsuit filed last year that accuses teachers and administrators of ignoring violent bullying against a special needs student.

While Churchwell is not being sued, the lawsuit said after the bullying happened, "Ms. Churchwell... [and] told her class that the bullying that occurred on April 29 was not a big deal."

In the meantime, TCSO is asking parents to monitor their kids' social media accounts and if there are other victims out there, they're urged to come forward.

"There could be other students that she had inappropriate contact with her," said Roebuck.

Berryhill Schools released the following statement:

The Berryhill School District takes the safety of its students very seriously and does everything it can to provide a safe learning environment. The district contacted law enforcement about allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a student and a teacher. The district is currently cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of these allegations and will take appropriate action when the investigation is completed. The teacher has been and is currently on leave of absence. The district will not comment further on this matter because of the ongoing criminal investigation and confidentiality rights of the parties involved.


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