A disturbing story of predatory sexual activity from two male school officials has come to light.
WSMV reports that two members of the Houston County School District are accused of having had inappropriate relationships with a 15-year-old girl.
Richard Tyson, 43, and Ernest 'Tommy' Beechum, 70, were arrested by the Houston County Sheriff's office on several charges, including “sexual battery by an authority figure.”
Officials believe both men separately preyed on the insecurities of the high school freshman and abused their power as adult figures in the young girl's life.
Sheriff Kevin Sugg claims one relationship likely began in a place of worship, saying:
“Mr. Beechum and the juvenile went to church together and it’s from my understanding that’s how they met.”
The victim and the 70-year-old school board member then reportedly embarked on a year-long relationship. An anonymous letter tipped the police off to the sexual nature of that relationship.
After police investigated the victim's phone, they repeatedly came across a mystery number.
That number belonged to Richard Tyson — the victim's history teacher. Sheriff Sugg referred to this discovery as “a twist.”
As a result of that new information, police came to understand that the victim was engaged in two inappropriate and sexually abusive relationships with older men.
However, it appears that neither Tyson nor Beechum knew of each other, and their relationships with the victim were each independent of the other.
If it seems like there's an unsettling surge of teachers having sex with their students — that's because there is.
The Washington Post reports an uptick in teacher sexual misconduct cases across America:
In Texas, home to the largest number of teacher sexual misconduct cases in the country, investigations into alleged inappropriate teacher-student relationships has grown 27 percent over the past three years, to 179. Kentucky schools reported more than 45 sexual relationships between teachers and students in 2011, up from 25 just a year earlier. And a surge has been reported in Alabama, where the state investigated 31 cases during the year ending July 2013, nearly triple the number it had investigated just four years earlier.
As for the case of the 15-year-old who was a victim of two men in Houston, Sheriff Sugg says, “This won’t be a toleration in this county. We’re not going to have it."