A Tennessee maths teacher who was previously a "teacher of the month" has been arrested and charged with rape over allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with a student.
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office booking records obtained by Law & Crime show that 28-year-old Ooltewah resident Casey McGrath of Central High School was booked into jail last Friday, Aug. 18, on an aggravated statutory rape charge.
McGrath Suspended in March for Engaging in Inappropriate Sexual Contact with Student
At the end of March, McGrath was suspended without pay by her school district. The move by Hamilton County Schools was in response to the revelation that McGrath was suspected of engaging in "inappropriate physical contact" of a "sexual nature" with a student. WTVC reported that McGrath has since been fired.
According to Tennessee law, aggravated statutory rape is a Class D felony defined as the "unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least ten (10) years older than the victim."
Class D felony convictions are punishable by two to 12 years in prison. Jail records do not currently show McGrath in custody and it's not immediately clear when she will appear in court.
McGrath Earned the 'Teacher of the Month' Award in 2021
McGrath is a math educator who was recognized in 2021 as the October "teacher of the month" while working at Central High School, according to the district's publication The Central Digest.
In an article about that honor, McGrath was quoted saying that the "best part of [her] day is always getting to interact with students and build relationships with them." McGrath said it was difficult to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teacher also said she enjoyed her work as an assistant volleyball coach because "spend[ing] time with students in a non-academic setting gives [her] the chance to get to know them even more."