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09/27/2019

Former school bus driver charged with sex with student
25th JUDICIAL circuit
Former school bus driver charged with sex with student
 
Article contributed by The Journal Record
 
By Michael E. Palmer
Staff Writer
 
BRILLIANT -   A former school bus driver employed with the Marion County School System was arrested on Sept. 12 and charged with violating the Alabama law that prohibits school employees from having sexual intercourse with students who are under the age of 19.
 
Ethan Corkren, 29, Brilliant, was arrested on Sept. 12 on the charge of a school employee having sex with a student.
 
In a press release from 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Slatton, Corkren was arrested at 8:29 a.m. on Sept. 12 and placed in the Marion County Jail in Hamilton. Corkren was released that same day on a $30,000 bond.
 
In the release, Slatton said the investigation began the week of Sept. 2 when information was provided to Brilliant Police Officer Jerrod Tidwell. Tidwell provided the information to 25th Judicial Circuit DA Investigator Lt. Rusty Hulsey. Hulsey completed the investigation on Sept. 11 when warrants for Corkren's arrest were approved, the release stated.
 
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West said she placed Cokren on administrative leave on Wednesday, Sept. 4, the day she was made aware of the investigation. 
 
West said Corkren hand-delivered a letter of resignation to the board office in Hamilton on Monday, Sept. 9.
 
Corkren was hired as a bus driver in July 2017 and approved as an athletics volunteer in Aug. 2018.
 
West said the allegations took place in the Spring of 2019 when the female student was a senior at Brilliant Schools. West said the student graduated in the May 2019.
 
West said the allegations came to light after Corkren self-reported to a school official that there was an unfounded rumor going around about himself and a female student.
 
According to Alabama state law, a person commits the crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19 years if he or she is a school employee and engages in sexual intercourse as defined by Section 13A-6-60(1) or deviant sexual intercourse as defined by 13A-6-60(2) with a student, regardless of whether the student is male or female. 
 
Consent is not a defense, the law states.
 
The crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student is a Class B felony.
 
"It's just a sad situation for everyone involved, " West said.
 
(When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
 
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