Chatsworth, GA – A longtime Murray County School System (MCSS) administrator has been arrested for allegedly raping and molesting a student during an alcohol-fueled underage party in October.
Dr. Rachelle Louise Terry, 43, has been arrested on charges of statutory rape and two counts child molestation due to her alleged “sexual relationship with a student,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a press release on Dec. 1.
Murray County Sheriff Jimmy Davenport said his office became aware of the Halloween party on Nov. 9, after a parent contacted Murray County Schools Superintendent Steve Loughridge regarding the alleged gathering, the Dalton Daily Citizen reported.
Sheriff Davenport said he turned to the Conasauga District Attorney’s Office and asked them to conduct the investigation due to a potential conflict of interest.
“We provide SROs (school resource officers) to the school system, so to avoid any perception of a conflict we asked them to handle this,” the sheriff told the Dalton Daily Citizen.
Terry ultimately turned herself in to investigators on Nov. 22 on five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and five counts of furnishing/purchasing of alcoholic beverages by persons below legal age, according to the paper.
The GBI said it was asked to open an investigation on Nov. 23, after the district attorney’s office allegedly discovered the “sexual relationship” between Terry and the victim during its own investigation into the party.
The victim’s age was not released, but the age of consent in Georgia is 16, the Daily Mail reported.
BREAKING: The GBI says they've arrested this Murray County School administrator and charged her with statuary rape and child molestation. They say she gave minors alcohol at a Halloween party this year and had a sexual relationship with a student. pic.twitter.com/X4oOuU5a9L
— Latricia Thomas (@LatriciaTnc9) December 1, 2022
Terry was arrested on the rape and molestation charges on Nov. 30 and was booked into the Murray County Jail, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.
She has been employed by the MCSS for the past 22 years and currently makes about $110,000 per year working as director of Enrollment, Data Collections, and Federal Programs, the Daily Mail reported.
MCSS Communications Director Derichia Lynch said Terry was placed on paid administrative leave after the Thanksgiving break and prior to her arrest on Nov. 30, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.
“Because she is under contract, her leave must be with pay until a hearing can be conducted,” Lynch added. “This is an ongoing investigation and personnel matter and as such we cannot offer further comment at this time.”
The MCSS said it was “shocked and saddened” to learn of the criminal charges pending against Terry, WTVC reported.
“These are extremely serious charges. The safety and well-being of our students are always a top priority for Murray County Schools,” the school district said.