A Whitwell High School teacher and local pastor was arrested on Friday night for statutory rape.
Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett confirms that teacher Joseph “Joey” Smith was arrested following multiple statements given to the department alledging Smith was involved in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
Smith was taken into custody on charges of statutory rape by an authority figure, which is a Class B felony in Tennessee, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Smith, a 2000 graduate of Whitwell High, had been serving as a CTE (career tech) instructor for the structural systems (carpentry) program at the school and was also the head baseball coach for Whitwell Middle School. He has also served as the pastor of Valley View Baptist Church and Fairview Union Church in the Whitwell area in recent years.
Sheriff Burnett says he was told that Smith has been terminated from his position with the schools. Marion County Director of schools, Dr. Mark Griffith, says the School Resource Officer was notified and they contacted the Department of Children’s Services.
Smith is being held at the Marion County Jail pending a bond hearing which is expected next week.
Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for more on this developing story.