A woman who taught and coached basketball at Utah’s Riverton High School stands accused of raping a 17-year-old female student.
Courtney Louise Jarrell, a 22-year-old math teacher and coach of Riverton’s sophomore girls’ basketball team, engaged in sexual encounters with a 17-year-old girl, prosecutors said Tuesday.
On Friday, Jarrell was formally charged with first-degree rape and second-degree forcible sexual abuse, The Associated Press reports.
The alleged incident is believed to have taken place between February and March, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. During the assault, Jarrell allegedly touched the victim’s breasts and genitals while she was visiting the teacher’s Salt Lake County home.
According to local officials, Jarrell was suspended from her jobs with the Jordan School District when the student’s accusations first came to light in March. When a police investigation uncovered further details about the alleged relationship, including the specific circumstances of the sexual encounter at Jarrell’s house, the teacher resigned permanently, the Tribune reports.
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"We immediately looked into it, and within hours of the complaint, she was suspended, and everything was turned over to Draper police," Jordan School District spokesperson Sandra Riesgraf told the Tribune. "We felt that it was something that rose to that level [of police involvement]."
Riesgraf added that Jarrell had been working within the Jordan School District for less than a year.
Despite the weight of the 17-year-old student’s allegations, Jarrell’s lawyer claims that she resigned from her teaching job in order to clear her name, rather than as an implicit admission of guilt.
Jarrell was considered one of Riverton High School’s most beloved teachers before the incident, according to Salt Lake City news outlet KSL.
"Everybody loved her," student Kathryn Orchard told KSL. "My parents were even way shocked because my parents loved her too. They thought she was a great teacher."
Jarrell is scheduled to appear before a 3rd District Court on May 16.