Clay police initiate investigation of private school teacher

Nov. 29—Clay County police have confirmed an investigation into a former third-grade teacher at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Brazil in connection with a video that alleges solicitation of a minor.

Chief Deputy Josh Clarke of the Clay County Sheriff's Department said a search warrant was served Sunday and digital equipment was seized for examination, but the educator has not been arrested while the investigation is pending.

Clarke said police are working with other agencies to get facts related to an incident that occurred in another jurisdiction. If any evidence of criminal conduct is found, criminal charges could be filed as soon as this week, Clarke said.

“At this point, there's no evidence of anything occurring” in Clay County, Clarke said, “but we are going to do some digging.”

Video that was broadcast on Facebook Live by the organization Predator Catchers Indianapolis purports to be a meeting on Saturday between the 42-year-old teacher and a decoy posing as a 13-year-old female.

The video shows the man meeting the decoy at a store in West Terre Haute where the man offers to buy food and an energy drink for the decoy. When the man is approached by the PCI group, he is seen on the video fleeing to his vehicle and driving away from the store.

Clarke said the school sent a brief email to student families saying the teacher, who passed a background check prior to being hired, has resigned.

Clarke said police are working with the school to ensure the safety of staff and students and to ensure “nothing happened” at the school. Clarke said police plan to talk to students about “good touch, bad touch” and about “healthy and unhealthy secrets” to make sure youth have knowledge to help them be safe from predators.

Authorities in Vigo County and the Indiana State Police are also involved in the investigation, he said.

Anyone with information that could be helpful to the investigation is asked to call Clarke at 812-446-2535, extension 5.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

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