Former Union County teacher accused of sexually harassing student makes first appearance in court

Ray Lincoln Head (Blue shirt) appears in court on October 17, 2016
Ray Lincoln Head (Blue shirt) appears in court on October 17, 2016

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Ray Lincoln Head, a former teacher at Union County High School made his first appearance in court.

Head is accused of sexually harassing a student. In court Monday, Head’s public defender asked for more time to go over materials. The case was reset to December 5.

In May 2016, Head was charged with three counts of sexual battery. His personnel file says he verbally resigned from Union County Schools on November 24, 2015.

WATE 6 On Your Side asked Head and his attorney for comment on the case. They both said “no comment.”

Jodi Cheshire, the mother of the student filed a federal and state lawsuit against Head, Union County Principal Linda Harrell and Vice Principal Carmen Murphy and the Union County School system. In the federal Title IX lawsuit, Cheshire claims Principal Harrell and Vice Principal Murphy received reports by students and two teacher of inappropriate sexual advances by Head as early as September of 2015, but chose not to investigate the reports for weeks.

“You don’t know who you can trust,” said Kaylie Hughett, a graduate of Union County High School.

Previous story: Federal lawsuit: Union County school had reports of teacher sexually harassing student, did nothing for weeks

The Tennessee Board of Education started their own investigation into Union County Schools after WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to them about the incident. A WATE 6 On Your Side investigation revealed the school system knew about a similar situation, but the school districts never notified the state about the incidents.

“That should have been in his background check, shouldn’t it,” said Diane Bynre, a grandmother of a Union County High School student.

The Tennessee Board of Education says they are going to continue looking into contacting the local districts in which Ray Head had previously been employed. It says it will continue to observe the criminal proceedings before the State Board will make a final determination.

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