On May 12, Macon Middle School math teacher and junior varsity baseball coach Jeffrey Todd Rousselle was arrested and charged with indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student, both of which are felonies.
The charges resulted after an investigation was carried out by Macon County Sheriff's Office Detectives Dani Burrows and Amy Stewart.
The investigators received a report that Rousselle had been communicating electronically with minor females who were students and/or prior students of Macon Middle School (MMS).
“This was good police work on their part,” said Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. “They received vital information, followed up on it and it led to the charges.”
According to the investigative report that was obtained by The Macon County News, a 14-year-old MMS student (student #1) told the detectives that she began to communicate with Rousselle via Facebook and after some time, he gave her his cell phone number. The report also says that they texted back and forth on a regular basis. Of the conversations between the two, physical anatomies were a topic of discussion as well as the topic of virginity. When Rouselle requested a photo of the girl after asking her if she had ever sent a nude picture, she told him, “no that is wrong, we don't need to do that,” to which he responded that he didn't mean a nude photo, just a general photo for his contacts.
After a friend questioned student #1 about text conversations that she had seen on her phone, student #1 then told Rouselle who suggested she change his contact listing from “Mr. Rousselle” to “Jeff.” The next day, he pulled her from her homeroom class and said, “if you tell anyone you're going to be in so much trouble, it's not even funny.”
Burrows and Stewart also received a report from a woman who believed that Rousselle had exchanged emails with a female family member and suggested that she text him. Student #2, who was 12 years old at the time, was told to “keep this under my first name.”
On May 9, 2014, Rousselle was interviewed at the sheriff's office where he admitted to the conversations with student #1 as described in the initial report. He also admitted to communicating with another girl (student #3) who was previously a student of his while he was a student teacher in the spring of 2012 at MMS. He also admitted to meeting student #3 at South Macon Elementary School after hours and that they had kissed.
Student #3 met with the detectives on May 12 and admitted that she had begun to exchange messages on Facebook with Rousselle at the end of her 8th grade year when she was 14. The reports says that there were at least 50 nude photos exchanged via text and email.
In response to the investigative report, a search warrant was issued by Judge Richard K. Walker for Rousselle's Claude Scott Road residence and his truck. As a result, a list of items including a MacBook computer, an iPhone, a digital camera, four memory sticks, a SD card, eight memory cards, an iPod, a Motorola flip phone, an LG cell phone, a Droid 2 Global phone, and another Droid phone were confiscated.
"The initial charges stem from his interactions with a student who has not been at the middle school in over a year," said Holland.
Macon County Schools released a statement following Rouselle's arrest.
“Macon County Schools has been informed that one of our teachers, Mr. Jeff Rousselle, has been under investigation by the Macon County Sheriff's Office. Charges were filed against Mr. Rouselle last night, and he has therefore been suspended from his teaching position at Macon Middle School for the rest of the school year, pending further investigation ... Macon County Schools will be cooperating with the Sheriff's Office in any way necessary to investigate this matter and to ensure the safety of all of our students.
“Because this is a personnel matter, the Macon County Board of Education and its administration are obligated to maintain confidentiality, and cannot provide any other information to the public at this time.”
Rousselle is being held at the Macon County Detention Center under a $75,000 bond with a court date scheduled for May 22.
"This investigation ongoing and is leading us in several directions. The one thing I will say is that it is apparent that there are adults (suspects) who failed these children," said Holland. "It is apparent that instead of doing the responsible thing and being role models and a positive influence, they instead have manipulated and victimized the. Now ALL the other adults with possible information are going to have to step up and do the right thing on behalf of every potential victim. In an effort to eliminate rumors, I want to also confirm that no child is being investigated for doing anything wrong...illegal or otherwise. It is the adults and their inappropriate activities involving minors who we intent to hold responsible."