Three Texas Teachers Face Felony Charges Over Alleged Sex Misconduct with Students

Kelly Searles
Kelly Searles/NCSO

Three Texas teachers, accused of sexual misconduct, found themselves arrested and charged, or sentenced to a lengthy prison term within the past few days–all high school teachers, all women, and all of them face potentially serious consequences for alleged dalliances with underage male students.

On Monday, Nacogdoches County sheriffs arrested former Woden High School teacher Kelly Diann Searles, charging her with two counts of having improper relationships with two male students plus two counts of felony indecency with a child by sexual contact.

Concerns about Searles, 45, surfaced in early January when Woden Independent School District Superintendent Brady Taylor learned of allegations that she was texting a student, a violation of the school board’s policy regardless of the content of the conversations. Woden ISD launched a full investigation but uncovered no sexual contact between Searles and the student in question. Still, Searles resigned immediately for violating district texting policy.

Subsequently, Taylor wanted to ensure the matter was completely resolved. On January 12, he tapped the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a comprehensive probe into the texting situation. Detectives accumulated a sizable amount of data on possible victims to have probable cause to seize Searles’ cell phone, according to a statement released by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office. They said police obtained a search warrant for the alleged suspect’s mobile phone. With assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, officers reviewed hundreds of text messages, images, and other evidence from the phone that “clearly showed that the suspect had previous relationships with two students.”

Investigators also interviewed the two purported juvenile victims at Harold’s House, an East Texas nonprofit children’s advocacy center that provides counseling for sexually and physically abused minors.

KTRE reported Searles’ bond was not set as of late Monday. All four charges are second degree felonies. Each count can carry a 2-20 year prison sentence.

On Sunday, an East Central Texas high school teacher turned herself into authorities. The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Caldwell High teacher Jamie Lynn Goforth on Friday pursuant to their investigation into allegations she was having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male student since October 2017. Once in custody, the sheriff charged her with having an improper relationship with a student and set her bond at $10,000. Goforth, 37, taught science, according to the Caldwell ISD online staff directory. She is the mother of two young daughters and is married to the school district’s athletic director Bobby Jack Goforth. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

Then, last Friday, a federal judge sentenced 48-year-old Motley County High School teacher Shonna Lynn Calaway to 188 months, or roughly 15 years and eight months, in prison after pleading guilty to one count of enticement in October 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. Calaway, who has remained in custody since September, was convicted for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student. It began over Snapchat in December 2016. This progressed to the point where Calaway asked the teen if he wanted to “hang out.” Then, she texted him sexually explicit images. Not long after, Calaway picked up the male student and drove him to a secluded scenic location where they had sex on numerous occasions for several hours. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported the judge ordered Calaway to serve 10 years of community supervision following the completion of her prison sentence.

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