ACA president responds after substitute charged with sex crimes - - The News for South Mississippi

ACA president responds after substitute charged with sex crimes

Anthony Ray Staten, Jr. (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office) Anthony Ray Staten, Jr. (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)
ACA President Ronnie Sewell ACA President Ronnie Sewell

The president of Alabama Christian Academy, a Montgomery-area private school, is speaking out following the arrest of a now-fired substitute teacher charged with multiple sex crimes.

Anthony Ray Staten Jr., was arrested Thursday and charged with electronic solicitation of a child, second degree sexual abuse and school employee having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19-years-old.

ACA President Ronnie Sewell says he was alerted by the high school principal of the allegations on April 1st, while Sewell was off campus. The next day, Sewell says he met with Staten, terminated his employment and notified authorities.

Staten was a permanent substitute teacher for two years at ACA, and also worked with the football team as an assistant. He was also an alumni of the school.

Sewell says this has been difficult for the ACA family, "Just because of having known him, we certainly were surprised", but calls this an isolated incident, based on the information gathered by the administration. School officials are currently cooperating with investigators and say they know very little about the evidence gathered at this point. 

Child Protect is also participating in this investigation, carrying out the forensic interview with the alleged victim. According to the agency, preliminary evidence suggests Staten was the student's substitute teacher.

Until the judicial process runs its course, Sewell and those involved, are asking everyone to limit speculation and refrain from discussing it at ACA or in public. "When we don't know all the situations and all the investigations, and everything that goes with that, we are all human and we tend to speculate," he said. "Speculation usually doesn't bring forth good results."

The school released a statement about the incident Saturday:

"Please be informed that Anthony Staten, a substitute teacher, was terminated from Alabama Christian Academy on April 2. We have been working with law enforcement, and are aware of his arrest on April 10. We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement to allow the legal process to take its course. Understanding that ACA has a background check performed on all employees, please respect, understand and trust that we are following the protocols in the best interest of all who may be involved."

President Sewell says ACA runs both a state and federal background check on all its full time employees, but only convictions show up on those checks.

Staten was booked in the Montgomery County Jail following his arrest. According to court documents, the defense has not requested a preliminary hearing. It has 30 days following the arrest to make the request. 

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