A Cobb County Grand Jury has indicted a former McEachern High School teacher and coach for the sexual assault of a student under a new Georgia law that makes any sexual relationship between student and teacher a crime, regardless of consent.
Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced the indictment today.
The indictment alleges that Terrance Tarpley, 34, of Marietta, had sexual intercourse with a female student who was enrolled at McEachern on Jan. 15, 2012.
Under O.C.G.A §16-6-5.1(b)(1): A person who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another individual commits sexual assault when that person is a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or other administrator of any school and engages in sexual contact with such other individual who the actor knew or should have known is enrolled at the same school; provided, however, that such contact shall not be prohibited when the actor is married to such other individual.
The statute disallows consent of the victim as a defense.
The Georgia Legislature changed the “persons in custody” law against sexual contact to include teachers and students after a Cobb County judge threw out a case against a teacher when the student testified that the relationship was consensual.
If convicted, Mr. Tarpley could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison and fined $100,000, Reynolds said.
Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring is prosecuting this case, which is assigned to Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben Green.
An arraignment date has not been set, and Mr. Tarpley is currently free on bond. He is represented by Atlanta attorney Ashutosh Joshi.
Joshi could not be reached immediately. His assistant said he was in court. Katheryn Hayes Tucker