Teacher charged with 24 sex crimes after posting TikToks of students, school says
A former Tennessee elementary school teacher is facing two dozen child sex charges including rape after police say she posted inappropriate videos of students to TikTok.
Taylor Cruze, 23, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Smyrna as a result of a police investigation in connection to the felony crimes, Rutherford County Schools spokesperson James Evans told USA TODAY.
Evans said that prior to her arrest last month, Cruze was a first-year fifth-grade teacher at John Colemon Elementary School in Smyrna, about 25 miles southeast of Nashville.
She was suspended without pay May 2, Evans said, and resigned from her job May 22.
Evans did not provide additional details about the case to USA TODAY, including what the TikTok videos contained or when they were posted.
On Aug. 3, court records show, officials issued a warrant for Cruze’s arrest and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office arrested her Aug. 10.
Cruze is charged with multiple counts of exploitation of a minor under 13 by electronic means, exploitation of a minor by electronic means and especially aggravated sex exploitation of a minor. She also faces charges of solicitation of a minor – rape of a child, and sexual battery by an authority figure.
Court documents show that at the time of her arrest, Cruze lived in Murfreesboro, about 14 miles south of the elementary school.
On Wednesday, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni told USA TODAY her current address was listed in Knoxville.
A jail spokesperson told USA TODAY Wednesday that Cruze posted a $100,000 bond the same day she was arrested.
Court records show she is due in court on Sept. 28 for a plea hearing.
Evans said the school district is “fully cooperating with law enforcement” as the investigation continues.
Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland appeared in a Denton County Court on Monday to respond to charges
DENTON, TX – A Denton County judge on Friday declared a mistrial in the child sexual assault case against John Wetteland, a former Texas Rangers player who is accused of molesting a boy three times more than a decade ago.
The jury told the judge three times that it was split. At one point, the judge said she heard loud arguing coming from the deliberation room.
Wetteland, who testified in his defense during the trial last week, faced three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He played for the Rangers from 1997 to 2000, as well as for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, and is in the Rangers’ Hall of Fame.
At 4:40 p.m., the jury sent its third note to the judge. It said it was deadlocked and some jurors were “unwilling to budge.” The jurors asked how long they were expected to deliberate. Some were concerned about child care.
Judge Lee Ann Breading had pressed the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict. But after questioning the jury about 5 p.m., she declared a mistrial.
Wetteland, 56, faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted. It was unclear Friday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial. Defense attorneys declined to comment.
Since Tuesday, jurors in 462nd District Court heard from the accuser, Wetteland and other witnesses.
According to authorities, Wetteland sexually assaulted the child three times between 2004 and 2006, starting when the child was 4 years old. Wetteland pleaded not guilty and said the accuser’s account of sexual abuse is a lie.
According to the accuser’s mother, he first told her in 2016 — when he was 16 — that Wetteland raped him as a child. She said she did not report the allegation to police. In his testimony, the accuser said he did not want to report the abuse and wanted an apology from Wetteland, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.
The accuser testified on Tuesday. He said he looked up to Wetteland and wanted to please him. The first time Wetteland sexually abused him, he said, he was confused. The abuse impacted him deeply into his teenage years, he testified, causing incontinence, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
When the boy was 18, his mother testified, she told him to write a letter about the abuse and planned to send it to people connected with Wetteland.
According to prosecutor Lindsey Sheguit, the document was saved on the Argygle school Google account, and the school district’s monitoring system flagged it. Employees discovered the letter, the school district’s chief technology officer testified Wednesday, and reported it to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
On cross examination from Derek Adame, one of Wetteland’s defense attorneys, the technology officer testified that the district could not know who wrote the letter, only that it was written on the accuser’s account. Adame and defense attorney Caroline Simone argue the abuse allegations are not true and were possibly fabricated by a man named Chris. Chris is not biologically related to the accuser but lived with him when the accuser was a teenager.
File your formal complaint in opposition to Biden’s public school rule proposal
Last year, we tried to stop the U.S. Senate from confirming a radical to President Joe Biden’s Department of Education. Despite our warnings, LGBTQ activist Catherine Lhamon was approved to the Office of Civil Rights and is now driving her agenda to force all public schools in America to allow biological males who identify as female to use the girls’ restroom and locker room.
The Department of Education under Lhamon is now proposing a new rule that will put women’s safety and privacy at risk and deprive women of athletic and professional opportunities. It would do so by radically rewriting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
TAKE ACTION NOW
If this rule is approved, biological males would be able to:
Openly change in girl’s dressing rooms.
Take college and university scholarships specifically reserved for women.
Use their position to charge schools with discrimination if they feel they aren’t getting enough “playing” time.
File a formal sexual harassment complaint against any female who speaks out against men in women’s sports.
Share hotel rooms with females during overnight trips.
Enjoy physical advantages like greater lung capacity, higher bone density, and greater muscle mass.
Title IX already prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It’s enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The new rule proposed by Biden’s Department of Education will redefine “sex” to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
Sincerely, Tim Tim Wildmon, President American Family Association
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Police Arrest 4 In Connection With Abuse Of 2 Boys
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The start of school is around the corner for metro students. Oklahoma City police officials said on Wednesday with the start of school, officers would see an increase of reported child abuse cases.
One case currently under investigation started last December with a metro school counselor and resulted in the arrest of four adults this week. They were accused of child abuse and not reporting the abuse of two elementary age boys.
A concerned school counselor tipped off police to the alleged abuse. According to a report, a 6-year-old student returned from Thanksgiving break with injuries to his face and his 10-year-old brother did not return to class following the break.
“Both had some pretty substantial injuries that nobody could seem to explain,” said Msgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department.
Investigators found the family living at the Red Roof Inn near I-40 and south Meridian Avenue. Court documents indicated the boys’ mother Krista Cox claimed their injuries were self-inflicted during emotional outbursts. Police learned the brothers were diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities.
“It’s bad enough when you’ve got a child that’s unable to defend themselves,” said Knight. “Then you throw in its special needs child that has certain disabilities that makes it an even more egregious act.”
Police said there were two other adults living in the hotel rooms besides Cox and her boyfriend Christopher Aucoin.
“As the case evolved, it turned out there were two other people involved,” said Knight. “A parent of the mother of the child and a parent of the boyfriend.”
After combing through multiple Oklahoma Department of Human Services referrals and hospital records for the brothers, investigators determined the injuries were from abuse. They are holding all four adults criminally responsible.
“The children were placed into protective custody,” said Knight. “That’s important to note.”
DHS was contacted for the story to confirm the children were placed in state custody. An agency official said they could not comment on the case due to confidentiality laws.
Irving teacher molested 7-year-old girl, then went to teach in another school, police say
IRVING, TX – A former Irving elementary school teacher has been arrested and accused of molesting one of his students in the second grade during the 2020-21 school year, Irving police said Thursday.
Irving police believe other students may have been sexually abused by the teacher.
Police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Victor Hugo Moreno, who was arrested last week and was released from jail after posting a $15,000 bond.
He faces charges of continuous sex abuse of a young child and improper relationship between student and educator, Irving police said.
The 28-year-old former teacher is accused of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl who was in the second grade at Townsell Elementary in Irving. Moreno was her teacher.
Irving school district officials received an outcry in the spring semester of the 2021-22 school year.
Moreno resigned from the Irving school district at the end of the 2020-21 school year after failing to meet his certification requirements, Irving police said.
Moreno taught in the Plano school district during the 2021-22 school year and was fired because of a code of conduct violation, police said.
School and police officials are encouraging anyone whose whose child could have interacted with Moreno in the Irving and Plano school districts to talk with their children, family members, and friends to make them aware of Moreno.
If you know of a victim or are a victim, contact the Irving Police Department at 972-273-1010 or call your local police department, or dial 911.