Teachers And Sex Allegations
Friday, May 12th 2006, 9:11 AM CDT
A Tulsa high school teacher is suspended after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a student. Tulsa Police arrested the Booker T Washington teacher Thursday night on several counts of sexual battery. Tulsa Public Schools put John Stinchcomb on paid suspension Friday.
Stinchcomb is the latest in a string of teachers accused of sexual misconduct with students. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims did some digging to see whether this is a rising trend in Tulsa schools.
Brandi Smith was accused in 2003 of having sex with her 15-year-old student at Franklin Youth Academy. She pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and served a year in the Tulsa County jail.
Mingo Valley Christian School teacher William Cornell was found in a parked car with a 16-year-old student last year. In March, he also pleaded guilty to second-degree rape.
Paige Cramer resigned from Union Intermediate High School after she was accused of having sex with her teenage student. Broken Arrow Police say the investigation is ongoing, but she's yet to be arrested or charged.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Hale High School teacher Curtis Westbrook was also accused of having sex with a student. He has not been arrested or charged, but the district has started termination proceedings against him.
And now, a 16-year-old girl has made similar accusations against John Stinchcomb, a Booker T Washington photography teacher and soccer coach.
The accusations seem to be everywhere, but educators say it's really not happening as often as it seems. Steve Stockley with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association: "I'm very proud of the fact that there is a very small number about whom questions are even asked. And we do find out that in some cases they're false questions."
Stockley says these allegations whether they're proven true or false can be devastating. But he doesn't think it's happening more frequently. "Some things at one time that might have been covered up or pushed under the carpet, I think now are receiving public scrutiny. And it is not only the public's right to know, I think that morally we have the right to know if improprieties take place."
Tulsa Police Sgt. Kim Presley, Tulsa Police: "they're not as frequent as we would think that they are so much as they are so public."
In several of these cases the students involved are at least 16-years-old, which is the age of consent in Oklahoma.
Tulsa Police say if these accusations had been against any other adult, there would be no case. But because a teacher is considered by law to be in a position of power, sexual contact is a crime.