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Sorta Semi-Hot To Trot teach was friend of student’s mother; Raped Her Son

Tennessee – from www.tennessean.com – Devri A. Depriest, a Rucker-Stewart Middle School music teacher and band director, was arrested Tuesday and charged with statutory rape by an authority figure of a Gallatin High School male student, now 17 years old.

Depriest, 25, of Franklin, Ky., was arrested by Gallatin police and booked into Sumner County Jail Oct. 18. She is accused of having a sexual relationship with the student approximately 20 times between September and November of 2010, according to the arrest affidavit.

The alleged encounters occurred at Depriest’s former Gallatin residence, when the alleged victim, a member of Gallatin High School’s band, was 16 years old, police said.

Depriest assisted with Gallatin High School’s band program, Sumner County Schools Spokesman Jeremy Johnson said.

Gallatin police Capt. Kate Novitsky said the investigation was opened Oct. 17.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, a school system representative and police officers met Depriest at Rucker-Stewart Middle School and took her to the police department for questioning, Novitsky said. She was taken into custody at the police station, according to Novitsky.

Gallatin police Sgt. Chris Shockley said in the affidavit he interviewed the alleged victim and had him contact Depriest by telephone while recording their conversation.

“Contact was made with the defendant and both parties engaged in conversation, which led to [Depriest] acknowledging their sexual relationship,” the affidavit said.

Another call was recorded by police with Depriest and the alleged victim’s mother in which the music teacher made additional incriminating statements admitting to her sexual relationship with the boy, the affidavit stated.
Mother had friendship with Depriest

The boy’s mother said Wednesday in an interview with the Gallatin News Examiner she found out about the alleged sexual relationship about four weeks ago from her son.

She said she and Depriest met two years at a Gallatin High School band event and became good friends.

“[My son] was going through some things at the time and [left home] for two weeks. He was vulnerable, and she took advantage of him,” the mother said.

The Gallatin News Examiner does not identify victims of sex crimes. To protect the alleged victim’s identity in this case, his mother’s identity has also been withheld.

“He would say he was staying with friends and even told me he slept in the park one night. [Depriest] was who I cried to about it,” the teen’s mother said. “I found out later he was staying with her.”

The relationship began through band, but intensified through texting and eventually became sexual, the boy said.

The boy’s mother said she had a brief romantic relationship with one of Depriest’s male relatives that ended recently when her son’s alleged sexual relationship with the music teacher came to light.

“I was shocked,” the mother said. “It hurt my feelings. We were all close. We all clicked.”

Attempts to reach Depriest for comment through a relative were unsuccessful by this newspaper’s deadline on Wednesday.

The investigation is still ongoing and more charges could be brought, Novitsky said.

Depriest was immediately placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, Johnson said Tuesday.

According to personnel records on file with the Sumner County Board of Education, Depriest began working for Sumner County Schools in 2009. A review of Depriest’s personnel file revealed she received satisfactory evaluations during her two-year career with the school system.

Depriest’s bail was set at $15,000. She was bonded out of the Sumner County Jail Tuesday morning. She is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court Dec. 7.
Depriest not first Sumner teacher accused of sex with a student

Depriest is the third Sumner County teacher in four years to be accused of having sex with a student.

Holly Hatcher, a former Gallatin High School teacher, was charged in 2007 with nine felony counts of statutory rape by an authority figure by police in Sumner and Davidson counties.

Hatcher pleaded guilty to three counts of statutory rape and received no jail time after being granted judicial diversion, a form of alternative sentencing that allows the guilty party to expunge criminal charges after fulfilling probation requirements.

She was sentenced to six years probation at 30 percent. The remaining six charges in Davidson County were retired on Jan. 5.

Former Portland High School math teacher Sandy Binkley was convicted in 2009 of two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the maximum verdict possible.

The convictions stem from a 2008 incident that occurred between Binkley and a male student in a volleyball locker room office at Portland High School. Binkley had alleged she was raped.

Binkley’s attorneys appealed the verdict. The Court of Criminal Appeals in Nashville upheld the original verdict on Aug. 23.

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