By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Blake Whitt, a 24-year-old Lee County Schools substitute teacher, turned himself in Wednesday for arrest on two sexual battery counts.
Whitt is accused of crimes associated with an alleged sexual relationship with a female student at Mooreville High School, where he reportedly taught about five times this school year.
Judge Court Judge Sadie Holland presided over his hearing in the Lee County Justice Center and set his bond at $15,000.
His parents sat on the front row in the large courtroom. His mother wept as a deputy put handcuffs on her son and took him to jail.
About 12:30 p.m., Whitt posted bond and was released.
Sheriff Jim Johnson told Holland the case was brought to his department’s attention by the girl’s parents.
He said the investigation continues with the likelihood additional information will be presented to a Lee County grand jury in March.
County Prosecuting Attorney James Moore presented the state’s case to Holland.
At trial, Assistant District Attorney Sadie Gardner will prosecute the case.
In this case, sexual battery is defined as a crime committed by sexual penetration of a child older than 14 but less than 18 by a teacher or others in positions of trust or authority over the minor.
Whitt, who has yet to enter a plea to the charges, is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
He was represented in court by attorney Kent Smith of Holly Springs.
As a condition of his bond, Whitt agreed to have no contact with the alleged victim, her family or third parties associated with them. He also agreed not to come within 500 yards of Mooreville High.
While not much more information about him is public, his Facebook page shows he attended Blue Mountain College and is interested in sports.
Lee County Deputy Donna Franks reportedly handled much of the case’s investigation and presented her sworn affidavit to the court. It was sealed because of its references to the female student.