SC high school athletic director allegedly had sex with student on campus, deputies say
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An employee at Bethune-Bowman High School in Orangeburg County has been charged with sexual battery against a student, according to the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Artis Coulter, 36, was charged with sexual battery without coercion. He was given a $10,000 bond during a court appearance on Tuesday.
“This took place over a period of time in March,” Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “At no time is it appropriate for a person of authority to have any type of contact such as this with a student.
According to an incident report, its alleged that Coulter and a female student had sex in the coach’s office in the girl’s locker room. The arrest warrant said that the victim, 16, and Coulter allegedly had sex multiple times between March 14 and March 21 at the high school and on school property.
An incident report also indicates that Coulter spoke with the victim’s father over the phone and “denied having sex or any other inappropriate activities with the victim" but the victim told someone they did have sex.
The sheriff’s office says as an employee of the Bethune-Bowman High School, Coulter has been on administrative leave since the allegations arose last week.
Evidence was located supporting the allegations after Orangeburg County Sheriff’s investigators began looking into accusations that Coulter had committed sexual battery against a student of the school.
In a statement from the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5, Coulter was employed and taught at The Technology Center in addition to being the athletic director at Bethune-Bowman High School. The district said:
Artis O’Neal Coulter, an employee in our District, was placed on paid administrative leave on March 25, 2019, after an allegation regarding his conduct was reported to the administration. The administration immediately contacted the school resource officer about the information reported. Mr. Coulter has been employed by the District as a substitute teacher/coach since 2008 and became a full-time teacher on October 4, 2010. At all times, he has been assigned to The Technology Center. Mr. Coulter also coached and has served as Athletic Director at Bethune-Bowman since the 2014-15 school year. On April 2, 2019, the District became aware of an arrest warrant being issued by the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) for Mr. Coulter. The District is and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as this matter is investigated. The well-being and safety of our students is our utmost concern. The District intends to keep the public apprised of this personnel matter, as may be appropriate and consistent State law.
The attorneys for the victim, Shane Burroughs and David C. Marshall, released this statement to WIS, saying:
The most vulnerable people in society are our children. When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be provided a safe learning environment, free from harm, especially from those in a position of authority. Taking advantage of any child is inappropriate. On behalf of the victim in this matter, we are grateful for the work of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement officials who investigated this matter, and we are hopeful that justice will be obtained for our client.
The sheriff’s office says if anyone has been a victim of this suspect or has knowledge of other incidents, they are asked to call the OCSO at 803-534-3550 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Callers can remain anonymous.
Coulter faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
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