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2nd SHS coach arrested on sex charges

Police: Both are accused of inappropriate contact with students

2nd SHS coach arrested on sex charges

2nd SHS coach arrested on sex charges

Luke Edward Parks


A second Statesboro High School coach accused of inappropriate relations with a student turned himself in to police Thursday.

Assistant football coach Luke Edward Parks, 26, of Jesup, is charged with felony sexual exploitation of children and sexual assault. Police had issued a warrant for his arrest Wednesday.

Assistant girls soccer coach Jeffery Tyler Crowder, 25, of Mike-Ann Drive, was jailed Wednesday on a felony sexual assault charge stemming from alleged sexual contact with a 16-year-old female student, Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said.

Investigation into the allegations against Parks began Friday after Statesboro police were notified that he "was engaged in a relationship of a questionable nature with a 16-year-old female student at the high school," Turner said in a news release.

On Monday, police received information that led to a separate investigation into allegations that Crowder also was involved in an inappropriate relationship with another 16-year-old female student, Turner said.

The cases are unrelated and further charges are possible, Turner said.

Because of the ongoing investigations, police are not immediately releasing more details, including the location of alleged improper activity.

Turner said investigators want to hear from others who might have been victims of the assistant coaches or who might have knowledge about the cases.

"The Statesboro Police Department needs to hear from any student that was contacted inappropriately, either in person or electronically, by Luke Parks or Jeffery Crowder," Turner said.

Electronic communications include communication via cellphone, smartphone applications and social media.

"Any student that has knowledge of Parks or Crowder contacting students is also encouraged to contact the Statesboro Police Department," Turner said.

Information can be submitted anonymously by calling (912) 764-9911 or online at www.tipsoft.com.

Also, text messages beginning with "TIPSSPD" may be sent to 274637 (CRIMES).

According to police, Parks resigned from his position at Statesboro High before the incident was reported, and Crowder was arrested Wednesday on school property.

Also on Thursday, Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson wrote a letter to parents, students and employees addressing the situation. Employees received the letter Thursday; it will be sent to parents Friday.

"We are very saddened and disappointed to learn about the alleged misconduct and arrest of two, first-year Statesboro High School paraprofessionals," Wilson wrote. The safety of our students and the trust of our community are of the highest importance to us. Therefore, Bulloch County Schools and Statesboro High School have cooperated and reported all information regarding the cases to local law enforcement, the Department of Family and Children's Services, and relevant state education agencies."

Wilson reiterated Turner's request that anyone with information relevant to the investigation contact police.

"Bulloch County Schools has zero-tolerance for employee misconduct of any kind or any abuse of our students," Wilson wrote. "As a result, both men were immediately removed from contact with Statesboro High students. They no longer serve in their assistant coaching positions, and they are no longer employed by the school system."

The superintendent said any student or employee who might need counseling is free to set up appointments with any of the district's five school psychologists and 22 on-site school counselors. He added that the school system will assess all facts resulting from the law enforcement investigation "so that we can look internally and determine what we can improve to make our schools a better place for our students and community."

"Please join me in assuring everyone that it is always okay to step forward and tell the truth about what they may know," Wilson said. "We want all of our schools to be safe and nurturing environments for our children."

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

 

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