Rachelle Louise Terry, who served as the director of federal programs and enrollment with the Murray County School District, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to statutory rape, sexual exploitation of children, tampering with evidence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and furnishing alcohol to minors, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.
Superior Court Judge Scott Minter ordered Terry to serve a sentence of three years in a Georgia Department of Corrections facility plus an additional 12 years of probation following her release.
“Additionally, part of negotiated plea included multiple special conditions imposed on sex offense cases which include no contact with children under 18, no alcohol, a curfew, and no internet access or social media use,” the DA’s office wrote in an email to Atlanta ABC affiliate WST-TV.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), authorities began looking into Terry in November 2022 after allegations arose that she gave alcoholic beverages to children during a Halloween party hosted at Terry’s home.
Steve Loughridge, the Murray County superintendent of schools, reached out to the Murray County Sheriff’s Office and reported that the parents of one of the students who attended the Halloween party filed a complaint about the gathering.
Due to a potential conflict of interest, the sheriff’s office reportedly requested that officials with the Conasauga District Attorney’s Office take control of the investigation. The conflict stemmed from the sheriff’s office providing school resource officers to the district.
An investigation into those allegations conducted by the Conasauga County District Attorney’s Office allegedly revealed that Terry had been having a “sexual relationship” with a student. The DA’s office then requested the assistance of GBI special agents to continue the investigation into Terry.
According to a report from the Daily Citizen, investigators obtained videos and photos from the cellphones of juvenile students who attended the party after their parents consented to allow law enforcement to search the devices. Those searches reportedly turned up digital evidence of Terry having a “sexual relationship” with a 15-year-old student in the Murray County School District.
In her initial interviews with law enforcement, Terry reportedly denied involvement with the student. However, during the investigation, it was discovered that she had purchased software used to completely erase the data on her cellphone, permanently deleting all of the content from the device, WST reported.
However, when the 15-year-old student was interviewed by a forensic investigator with the Children’s Advocacy Center-Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, the boy reportedly confirmed the messages and media from his conversations with Terry were accurate and that he and Terry had engaged in sexual acts together.
Due to the nature of the charges to which Terry pleaded, she will be required to register as a sex offender upon her release from custody.
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