UPDATE (March 5, 2019)-- Brody Pickering was sentenced to three years of home detention and one year of probation.
ANDERSON, Ind. – A teaching assistant at Anderson High School is accused of having sexual relationships with two students.
Brody Pickering, 19, is in the Madison County Jail on a $10,000 bond for two counts of Level 5 Felony Child Seduction and two counts of Level 6 Felony Official Misconduct.
Detectives with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department say they were investigating a case where Pickering allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student in February 2018 when they say they found out he also had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student last fall.
He’s been working as a teaching assistant since October 2017.
Interim Superintendent, Tim Smith says the school was made aware of the alleged incidents after Pickering allegedly told another teacher about the encounters. Smith says the teacher told administrators who then immediately contacted police. Smith says the closeness in age created a slippery slope in this case, but regardless of age all school employees must obey the law and code of conduct.
"And that's the difficult issue from a school standpoint our focus and part of our training with our paras who are younger of of any age will have that component included in it warning against any type of relationships with people they may already know," Smith said.
Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger says none of the incidents took place on school grounds and it's believed that some of the activity took place as far back as October.
Anderson Community Schools released the following statement following the arrest:
Anderson Community Schools has been made aware of today's arrest of a 19-year-old para-educator. Upon hearing of the accusations, the school corporation removed the accused from all contract with students, involved the appropriate authorities and began their own investigation. ACS has taken appropriate action with the employment status of the accused and will continue to fully cooperate with the Madison County Sheriff's Department and Anderson Police Department as they continue their investigation. This type of behavior is unacceptable to the school corporation and will not be tolerated. Student safety is the utmost priority for Anderson Community Schools.
Smith adds the school system will reiterate policies following this incident.
"People make choices and sometimes we can't control those choices but we can educate and train them to the best of our abilities which I believe we do a great job of but we can't babysit people 24/7," Smith said.