School district fires teacher facing charge of attempted sexual assault of a student

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 14, 2013 

The Muscogee County School District has fired the Northside High School teacher charged with attempted sexual assault of a student.

The English language arts teacher, Tucker Hearn, is listed as terminated on the district's personnel report, which the Muscogee County School Board officially will receive this evening during its monthly work session at 5 p.m. in the Muscogee County Public Education Center on Macon Road.

Hearn waived his preliminary hearing Sept. 18 in Columbus Recorder's Court and was released on his own recognizance with a $10,000 bond. The case is pending in Muscogee Superior Court.

Hearn, 37, is accused of sending a 16-year-old female Northside student inappropriate messages through a school computer network. Assistant District Attorney Letitia Sikes has said the teacher tried to arrange a meeting with the student before school started.

Muscogee County School District superintendent David Lewis said after Monday evening's school board work session that Hearn was terminated because "in our determination, it's appropriate based on the law."

Hearn had been working at Northside since 2002. He also worked as a part-time freshman composition instructor at Columbus State University. He was on paid administrative leave from the university after his arrest, but it was unclear Monday whether that status has changed.

Columbus police have said Hearn engaged in explicit, sexual conversations with the student, and admitted to the allegations after he was informed of his rights. He is charged with attempted sexual assault on “a person in custody,” meaning someone over whom he has authority. The Georgia law prohibiting such sexual contact reads in part: “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.”

The law further states: “A person convicted of sexual assault shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 25 years or by a fine not to exceed $100,000 or both.”

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