Blake Bearden, 31, turned himself in to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon and was held in the Cherokee Adult Detention Center, according to Cherokee Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Jay Baker. Upon his arrest, he was charged with four counts of sexual assault.
In a letter sent home with students Thursday, Creekview principal Adrian Thomason said he was unable to divulge further details regarding the arrest but offered to address concerns parents may have about the situation.
“As a staff, we will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing legal and internal investigations of this employee, will ensure that this employee is not on our school campus and will continue to reinforce the importance of ethical staff behavior as it relates to personal and professional conduct,” his letter states.
Conditions of Bearden’s bond include staying out of contact with the victim or any other Cherokee County student, as well as staying off Cherokee County school property unless summoned by a school official, Baker said.
Bearden, a special education teacher and coach for Creekview’s track and field and cross-country teams, was reassigned to a non-school worksite before the start of classes Wednesday, school system spokesperson Barbara Jacoby said.
When asked about Bearden’s employment Thursday in light of the bond conditions, Jacoby again said he had been reassigned to a non-school worksite and that he had not been placed on leave.
Sheriff’s office authorities believe Bearden engaged in a three-month consensual relationship with a 17-year-old female student, Baker said. The relationship is believed to have taken place off campus.
Under Georgia law, it is illegal for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student.
School officials first learned of the allegations against Bearden over the weeklong Thanksgiving break.
After an initial inquiry Monday, the school system began an internal investigation Tuesday, when school police notified the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office of the allegations.
Tuesday night, detectives searched Bearden’s home in Ball Ground.