A Tennessee teacher is accused of sexually preying on students, abusing one of them in her home.
For now, Alissa McCommon, 38, faces a count of rape of a child, but investigators expect more charges.
“Multiple juvenile victims have come forth stating that they were befriended by their former teacher, McCommon, who began playing video games with them, and then further engaged with them through mobile phone social media apps, which led to her allegedly sending inappropriate photographs and requesting sexual relations with the victims,” the Covington Police Department wrote on Friday.
There’s no evidence any of this behavior happened on any school campus, officers wrote.
“The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) detectives began working jointly with CPD detectives after receiving information regarding a victim or victims who were exposed to similar circumstances within the county’s jurisdiction, outside of Covington city limits,” cops wrote. “The investigation is continuing in nature as the evidence further develops. Further specific allegations are omitted due to the involvement of minors as victims.”
McCommon sexually abused a boy 12 years or under at their home in 2021, Covington Police Chief Donna Turner said, according to Memphis CBS affiliate WREG.
“It is unbearable,” she said. “It’s unspeakable and it’s 100 percent preventable.”
McCommon used to teach fifth grade at Crestview Elementary until this school year, according to the Covington Leader. She reportedly then joined Charger Academy, teaching fourth grade English/Language arts. That’s where she was working when the school district suspended her without pay on Aug. 24.
The victims are receiving resources, Turner said.
Investigators said they met with prosecutors about the multijurisdictional case. As they continue to speak to witnesses and identify victims, they expect McCommon to face more charges.
“Covington Police Department Detectives continue to investigate this terrible exploitation and abuse of these young boys,” Turner said in a statement online. “We expect to also develop the investigation to determine accountability of other adults in the case, including those who were aware of the abuse, and those who allowed or provided locations for such illegal acts to occur. I am thankful for the continued assistance by Tipton County School officials during this investigation. I have also spoken with the US Attorney’s Office, and we intend to pursue any appropriate federal charges related to the sexual exploitation of these victims utilizing cellphones, inappropriate relations, and activities across jurisdictional State lines. We will prosecute this case to the fullest and will continue to support the victims and their families during all aspects of the investigation.”
McCommon, who lives in the city of Covington, allegedly admitted communicating inappropriately with the students. She posted a $25,000 bond to get out of the Tipton County Jail, according to Memphis ABC affiliate WATN.
Her lawyers reportedly say she maintains her innocence.
“We believe that it’s borderline a witch hunt on social media and that’s frustrating to us,” lawyer Jere Mason said, according to WREG. “What we’re asking is that the public be patient and allow the justice system to do its job and not create further persecution on the alleged victims or on the family of the defendant.”
Without naming McCommon or detailing the allegations, Tipton County Sheriff Shannon Beasley and the Tipton County Director of Schools Dr. John Combs previously confirmed an investigation into one of the teachers.
“A parent brought forth allegations of misconduct on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 24, and the teacher was suspended without pay later that same morning pending the outcome of the investigation,” Combs said, according to The Covington Leader. “We are currently working with law enforcement and awaiting further details from them and the DA’s office.”
“Remember, although we work for the public and our citizens, our victims are a priority,” Beasley wrote Thursday. “I assure you we are being thorough with the investigation and the process at hand. In any case where the alleged victim may be a juvenile, we have THEIR best interest at heart and handle the case with as much care as possible. We ask that you be patient as our office, the Covington Police Department and Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General, 25th Judicial District continue our investigation and please keep our alleged victims in mind.”
From cops on Facebook:
If anyone has any information, or if you are concerned that your child may have been victimized, please contact the Covington Police Department CID at 901-475-1261 or the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office CID at 901-475-3300.
Tips can also be sent through the Covington Police Department Facebook messenger or the City of Covington website.
Note: In a statement dated Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, Tipton County School Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Rebekah Byrd, said that a parent brought forward allegations about McCommon to the attention of Combs.
District officials learned on Friday about McCommon’s arrest. She said that law dictates how they fire teachers.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who may have been affected by the events as outlined by law enforcement in their press release,” Byrd wrote. “Although Ms. McCommon is currently suspended, the district’s dismissal of teachers is construed by statutory law. As a result, we will continue to engage our legal counsel and pursue employment decisions consistent with the requirements therein.”
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