Former teacher pleads guilty to aggravated statutory rape

Former teacher pleads guilty to aggravated statutory rape

Posted:
Jeff Wilson (source: Knox County Schools) Jeff Wilson (source: Knox County Schools)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A former Fulton High School teacher pleads guilty to aggravated statutory rape. In May, Jeff Wilson was placed on administrative leave.

The school system said, at the time, he was being investigated for an inappropriate relationship with a student. Wilson taught electrical and HVAC studies at Fulton High School. According to Wilson's personnel record for Knox County Schools, he was hired in 2008 at Fulton High School. He received tenure in 2011. He resigned in July of 2012. Wilson waived his right to a grand-jury indictment and pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated statutory rape.

Sherry Fishback has a grandchild who is a student at Fulton High School. She's upset that a teacher could take advantage of a student this way.

"I'm shocked, sad and mad I mean mad," said Fishback.

Assistant District Attorney Charme Knight was the prosecutor in the case.

"The citizens of Knox County deserve for their kids to go to school and to be safe to be educated and to be protected," said Knight.

36-year-old Jeffery D. Wilson was teaching at Fulton High School when the two incidents with an underage female student occurred. Friday he pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated statutory rape. He was sentenced to four years on each count.

Wilson will serve one year behind bars and seven years probation. Knight believes the sentence was fair but admits just going through the legal process is very difficult for the victims.

"It's very hard. They're young they are emotionally confused. It's almost like a re-victimization for them to go through the process," said Knight.

In court Wilson said he was sorry and that he loves his wife. Knight says these actions from a teacher violates trust but wants to remind parents this behavior from our educators is not the norm.

"Most teachers are not like this, there's a sad few that play on children like he did," said Knight.

Fishback hopes school officials find a way to prevent this from happening again, whether it's more monitoring of the teachers or background checks.

"I think they need to find some way to do a better background check and screening on the teachers," said Fishback.

In court the victim's family expressed their emotion over Wilson's actions describing Wilson as an authority figure manipulating their child. The family wanted more jail time but the state says it was a fair sentence.

Wilson was taken into custody Friday to start his one year sentence. He will be placed on the sex offender registry. A psychological test will determine how he will be monitored while on his seven year probation. Depending on the results he could have weekly visits or GPS monitoring.

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