MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (Sept. 30, 2014)— A Montgomery County teacher was arrested over the weekend after authorities said he provided alcohol to underage girls.
Zachary Simpson, 27, was arrested on a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
According to court documents, a mother of one of the girls called police after her daughter and her two friends came home intoxicated early Sunday morning. The mother stated she believed her daughter may have been drugged while drinking at Simpson’s residence.
An officer reported smelling “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from a room” when he arrived to the mother’s residence to speak with her daughter and two friends. The three girls admitted they were drinking rum and vodka at Simpson’s house Saturday night, before one of the girls became sick and began vomiting. When the girl’s condition had not improved the following morning, her friend stated they brought her home to get help. According to the probable cause affidavit, the girl had a BAC level of 0.126.
Simpson, who is employed at Cascade High School, told the officer he met one of the girls while teaching algebra last year at North Montgomery High School. Simpson is currently on paid administrative leave pending investigation.
“To me it’s very frightening because these students are very young and very impressionable,” said Cascade High School parent, Kathy Bewley.
The girl’s mother told police she knew Simpson well and did not want him to get in trouble. She also stated there were no sexual advances made towards any of the girls, read court documents.
“Every morning I send my four kids to a place that I should trust 100 percent to have my children’s best interest at heart, and I don’t feel that is the case,” said Bewley.
The officer later interviewed Simpson, who reportedly admitted the girls were at his house drinking and had already been drinking prior to coming over. When questioned why he didn’t call for help after one of the girl’s became sick, he stated he feared the girl may have choked on her vomit but said he was not worried because he had experienced this type of situation in college, according to the probable cause.
Simpson claims that the girls were already drinking before they got to his house, according to court documents.
“It makes it hard when they [students] know something is wrong and they shouldn’t be doing it and then you have a teacher they look up to say it’s ok,” said Bewley.
Monday, the superintendent of Mill Creek Community Schools, Jim Diagostino, sent a letter to parents in the school district, alerting them of the incident. On Tuesday, Diagostino released the following statement to the public.
Mill Creek Community School Corporation is dedicated to the education, safety, and welfare of all students. Last year we ranked in the top 4% of all corporations in the state of Indiana in our percentage of students who passed both portions of ISTEP, and be sure to look us up when the embargoed school accountability grades are released in the next couple of weeks.
On Sunday, September 28, 2014, we became aware of the arrest of a teacher employed at Cascade High School. We immediately began an investigation and have worked closely with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s department. There was no involvement in the situation by any other staff member or student at Cascade High School. We sincerely apologize for the actions of the teacher and assure everyone that we do not condone, nor will we tolerate, this type of behavior from our school employees. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Student safety is always our #1 priority.
We will take the necessary steps to provide the high level of teaching excellence expected for our students in the interim and pending final action by the MCCSC School Board.
Mill Creek Community Schools maintain an Expectation of Excellence in Achievement, Attitude, and Actions by ALL of our students, staff, and community. #E=A3!
The situation is now a personnel issue. The MCCSC will have no further comment until the completion of the investigation and final action by the MCCSC School Board.
“When you decide to be a teacher you need to realize you are a role model,” said Bewley.
Simpson was released from the Montgomery County Jail after posting $1,000 bond.