Nacogdoches grand jury indicts former sub teacher on 5 charges - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches grand jury indicts former sub teacher on 5 sex-related charges

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Jamar Ballard (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail) Jamar Ballard (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

A Nacogdoches grand jury indicted a former Nacogdoches Independent School District substitute teacher on five felony charges in relation to his alleged sexual misconduct with students at the high school Friday morning.

Jamar Kenta Ballard, 29, of Lufkin, was indicted on three charges of improper relationship between an educator and a child, sexual assault of a child, and sexual assault.

Last week, the NISD Police Department added a fifth charge to Ballard's list of charges. The fifth charge of second-degree sexual assault was in connection to the first victim to come forward against Ballard.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the first charge was filed after a teacher Nacogdoches High School observed a female student crying uncontrollably. When the teacher spoke to her about it, the student said she had just had sex with Ballard at the school.

An officer then spoke to the student, who said Ballard asked her to come to the room where he was substituting. She said she had a class and he told her to come after school. The girl said she went into the room and they had sex. She said that right before they started to have sex, she told him no but he continued anyway.

The affidavit states video surveillance shows the girl go into the classroom and then Ballard looking right and left down the hallway before closing the door.

Ballard was initially charged with second-degree improper relationship between an educator and student. But police obtained the sexual assault warrant on Friday.

Ballard is also charged with two other counts of improper relationship and one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child.

Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes has urged any other victims to report other crimes against Ballard.

Now Nacogdoches ISD administrators are asking, did the system fail them?

The NISD human resources director says "yes" when it comes to the district not receiving a full criminal background on the teacher. Now, the district is closely reviewing how background checks are handled.

When Ballard was hired in December of 2012 Nacogdoches ISD complied with a 2007 state law. It requires teacher fingerprinting and background checks.

"We get their criminal history results back from the DPS data base," Michael Martin, the Nacogdoches ISD human resources director, said.

A review revealed "a couple of things - giving false testimony, and the other was a weapon possession, but they were dismissed," Dr. Fred Hayes, the superintendent of NISD, said.

As a result, Hayes was hired as a substitute teacher. On April 11, when Ballard was arrested, East Texas News ran a check on him at PublicData.com. It revealed Ballard had a felony conviction for burglary. He received deferred adjudication on the charge, meaning his felony status went away once he served probation.

"In fact I did first find out on KTRE's site about these other charges," Martin said.

Martin said he immediately checked to see if the district missed something.

"We feel very confident that we did everything we could within the law," Martin said.

Now Martin wants to know why the public can find information on an applicant that a state database didn't provide.

The district is looking into new hiring procedures. No specifics were shared, but Martin is concerned about respecting applicant's rights.

"Every individual's rights have to be respected," Martin said.

The question remains is if a teacher's rights came at the expense of alleged victims.

Nacogdoches ISD officials said they don't want the substitute's arrest to overshadow the good work of many other teachers.

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, the district will be conducting a teacher job fair at Mike Moses Elementary. Martin said all the new hires will undergo new background check procedures.

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