Coaches accused of sex with students suspended with pay - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Coaches accused of sex with students suspended with pay

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Keeton is the second Vina coach accused of having sex with a student in less than one week. Keeton is the second Vina coach accused of having sex with a student in less than one week.
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Franklin County School officials said a coach arrested for having sex with a student has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.

Brian Keeton is a math teacher at Vina, as well as the boys' basketball coach, according to Superintendent Gary Williams.

Keeton is the second Vina coach accused of having sex with a student in less than one week. Deputies arrested PE teacher Sonny Tibbs on Friday for similar charges. Tibbs is also the girls' basketball coach, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association. He was also suspended with pay.

Williams confirmed that the school district brought in counselors to help teachers, staff, and students cope with the allegations. He said it is hard to describe how the district and community are coping with the accusations.

"There are all kinds of thoughts and emotions running through our heads right now: disappointment... embarrassed. We have a great school system here and these are unfortunate instances that have happened," Williams said.

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said his office takes these crimes very seriously. If convicted, these men could spend up to 20 years in prison, on top of losing their jobs and being considered sex offenders.

Rushing said the age of consent in Alabama is 16 years old in most situations. He said there are a couple of charges that modify the law, including the one both Vina coaches are charged with, which is a school employee engaging in sexual activity with a student.

Rushing said he plans on meeting with both victims in these cases and pursuing the charges in court. Rushing and school officials agree - one case is too many, and more than one from the same school in less than a week is very concerning.

"We already have a large number of cases, but any time you have a sexual offense or a charge of a sexual offense involving a student or a minor, those cases are very serious, and they take a lot of time and resources, and are considered very serious by the court system," Rushing said.

The DA also said he plans on working with the superintendent and creating some type of awareness campaign to help teach and warn educators about the law and consequences for engaging in relationships with students.

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