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Berryhill High School teacher arrested, accused of rape

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 15:15:59-05

TULSA COUNTY, Okla. — Police arrested a Berryhill High School teacher over rape accusations, according to the Tulsa County Jail.

Joyce Churchwell was arrested Tuesday afternoon at her house for rape in the first degree, said Casey Roebuck with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

In mid-December, an investigation began into allegations that Churchwell had sex with an 18-year-old student, Roebuck said. The sheriff’s department interviewed the student who confirmed that the incident happened and gave specific details of the encounter.

Another adult female was also present. Roebuck said she is a former teacher who was not teaching at the time. According to court documents, Churchwell's children were also home during the alleged sexual encounter.

A search warrant was issued, evidence was gathered and the district attorney's office then pressed charges, Roebuck said. When officers arrived at her home today, Churchwell was already getting ready to turn herself in at the jail.

According to TCSO, only Churchwell is being charged because an 18-year-old who's a student can't legally consent to a school employee.

The TCSO believes that there may be other victims, because Churchwell has sent inappropriate Snapchat messages to students. Roebuck said, TCSO expects that more students will be coming forward with sexual allegation claims against Churchwell.

Churchwell is out of the Tulsa County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

According to court documents, Churchwell was pregnant at the time of the investigation and has since give birth.

Berryhill Superintendent Mike Campbell released a statement saying:

"The Berryhill School District takes the safety of its students very seriously and does everything it can to provide a safe learning environment. The district contacted law enforcement about allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a student and a teacher. The district is currently cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of these allegations and will take appropriate action when the investigation is completed. The teacher has been and is currently on leave of absence. The district will not comment further on this matter because of the ongoing criminal investigation and confidentiality rights of the parties involved."

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