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Chism indicted for alleged affair with TCHS student

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner

A Trimble County teacher who resigned in March, shortly after having accepting the position of head football coach at the high school, now faces charges in two states for allegedly having a sexual relationship with one of his former students.

Kirk G. Chism, 39, of Madison, Ind., voluntarily surrendered to authorities in Jefferson County, Ind., Wednesday, June 24, after the Indiana State Police issued a warrant for his arrest on three charges of child seduction, a Class D felony.

Chism repeated the process the next day in Oldham County, Ky., Circuit Court, after a warrant was issued for his arrest stemming from a June 19 indictment handed down by the Trimble County grand jury. In Kentucky, he faces three counts of first-degree sexual assault, also a Class D felony.

After voluntarily appearing with his attorney before 12th District Circuit Judge Karen A. Conrad on Thursday, Chism entered a not guilty plea on each count. Conrad ordered that he not have any contact with the victim and further ordered that he have no unsupervised contact with any minor. Chism then was handcuffed by a sheriff’s deputy and taken to the Oldham County jail, where he posted bond and was released from custody.

His next court date in Kentucky is set for July 23 in Oldham County Circuit Cour. He is scheduled to return to Jefferson County, Ind., Superior Court on Aug. 5.

Alleged encounters occurred in Indiana, Kentucky

According to a probable cause affidavit filed June 24 in Jefferson County Superior Court, ISP Detective Rick Stockdale stated that he received an allegation April 9 that Chism had engaged in a sexual relationship with a student while he was a teacher at TCHS.

In the affidavit, Stockdale relates information provided by Kentucky State Police Detective Kevin Johnson, who interviewed the alleged victim on April 10. Stockdale reports that the victim told Johnson she and Chism had engaged in sexual intercourse on Dec. 13, 2008, and that the encounter took place in Chism’s van in the parking lot at Madison Consolidated High School. Stockdale said the victim reported two other sexual encounters in Chism’s Madison home on Jan. 19 and March 7.

In the document, Stockdale states that he and Johnson interviewed Chism on April 14, and that Chism confirmed the student’s allegations.

In a phone interview Thursday, Johnson said the KSP investigation also determined that Chism allegedly had engaged in sexual activity with the victim in Trimble County on three other occasions between Dec. 13, 2008, and March 30, 2009. The grand jury indictment provides no specific dates for either of the three charges.

Charges, penalties

defined

Under Indiana Criminal Code, anyone older than 18 can be charged with “child seduction” if they engage in any sexual activity with a child (older than 16 but younger than 18) for whom they are considered a guardian, adoptive parent, adoptive grandparent, custodian, stepparent or a child-care worker.

The code defines the term child-care worker as “a person who provides care, supervision or instruction to a child within the scope of the person’s employment in a shelter care facility; or is employed by a school corporation or a nonpublic school attended by a child who is the victim.”

The Kentucky charges stem from a similar law, KRS 510.110, that went into effect last summer. Under the statute, it is a crime for anyone, regardless of age, to engage in sexual activity with a minor under 18 when the accused is considered “a person in a position of authority or position of special trust,” such as a teacher, counselor, pastor or employer.

If convicted in Indiana, Chism faces six months to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for each of the three counts of child seduction against him.

In Kentucky, if convicted, he faces one to five years in prison and $1,000 to $10,000 in fines for each of the three first-degree sexual abuse charges against him.

Chism resigned

for ‘personal reasons’

Chism, who began as a middle school teacher in Trimble County in 1998, moved up to the high school during the 2004-05 school year. Up until his resignation March 31, he taught psychology, sociology and U.S. History.

Chism had been hired to replace former head football coach Johnny Poynter in January.

On May 11, about a month after Chism resigned, Sampson announced Chris Collins of Atherton High School in Louisville, Ky., was hired as head football coach

In the April 15, 2009, issue of The Trimble Banner, TCHS Principal Stirling Sampson said Chism tendered his resignation citing “very personal reasons.”

In a telephone interview Saturday, Sampson could not comment on whether Chism’s resignation had to do with the alleged relationship with the student, nor could he say if anyone else in the district was aware that such a relationship existed.

“Because he is not an employee of the school or the school district, I am not in a position to comment on that, whatsoever,” Sampson said.

Attempts to reach Superintendent Marcia Dunaway for comment on the matter were unsuccessful by press time Tuesday.