Claremore choir teacher Mark Buchanan arrested for rape, sodomy of victim under 16

CLAREMORE, Okla. - A Sequoyah Schools band and choir teacher was arrested at his Claremore home late Monday.

Mark Buchanan is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student. The 34-year old is the third Rogers County teacher recently arrested amid allegations of sex abuse.

According to investigators, Buchanan came clean to his wife about the relationship after he incorrectly thought the victim may have been pregnant. His wife then turned him in to Rogers County Sheriffs Office.

Investigators believe Buchanan had repeated sexual encounters with a 14-year old student between January and June of this year.

"At least some of these violations, if not all of them, occurred on school property," Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said. Records show some of the incidents occurred in a closet attached to the school's choir room.

Investigators say they discovered naked pictures of Buchanan on the girl's cell phone.

He faces a combined 18 counts of rape, sodomy and lewd molestation.

Buchanan is the third Rogers County teacher to be arrest for having a sexual relationship with a minor in recent weeks. In May, two teachers in the neighboring community of Foyil were arrested on similar charges.

The allegations of sex with young girls against Jason Ward and Jeffery Harris came to the sheriff's department's attention on the same day. They were arrested a week apart and do not appear to be related in any way.

"Is this a new epidemic? I would say certainly not," Walton said. "I think these things have always happened. I think we've gotten better about reporting them -- and thankfully so. Maybe long term we will see a reduction in these types of deals."

The arrests have stunned residents in the small communities of Sequoyah and Foyil.

"It's really scary. My grandkids go to school and I don't want them running into someone like that," said Foyil resident Mike McKnight, who says he watched Jason Ward grow up.

"I knew him as a little boy," McKnight said. "And I never thought he would this. It's just terrible."

Experts warn it's often people you would least expect who have the most opportunity to prey on kids. So it's important for parents to be watchful.

2NEWS tried to reach the Sequoyah superintendent for comment, but our call was not returned.

Due in court July 18, Buchanan is being held without bond in the Rogers County Jail.

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