Principal Reinstated at School Amidst Sexual Assault of a Student Investigation

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OCCHS Principal Cory Essary is currently under investigation from two departments: OCSD and DCS for an alleged sexual assault of a student after a Title IX complaint was filed by the parent.

Former Weakley County teacher and current OCCHS Principal has Title IX Sexual Assault Complaint filed against him; unwanted touching investigation by Sheriff’s Department & Children’s Services 

Associate Editor, Shannon Taylor

Obion County Central High School Principal Corry Essary was placed on administrative leave by Superintendent Timothy Watkins on Sept. 25, according to an email received by a parent whose 15-year-old child she claims was sexually assaulted by Essary after an incident in Essary’s office. The parent in question has concerns regarding the principal being reinstated and back in the school with open, ongoing investigations. 

Essary was reinstated Oct. 16 after Watkins stated in an email, “It is my decision, based on the results of the investigations by Obion County Schools, Obion County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, that there is no evidence of wrongdoing and therefore, there is no Title X violation.” Two weeks after reinstatement, there are open investigations into the incident by both the Obion County Sheriff’s Department, according to Sheriff Karl Jackson, and an open investigation by the Department of Children’s Services, according to an email received by the parent of the child. 

According to the parent, the incident stems from a homecoming dance on Sept. 8 where a male juvenile was touching female students inappropriately and at one point, grabbed one female juvenile’s breasts and tried to rip a piece of candy off of her shirt. 

The incident was caught on camera footage and viewed by Essary, who called the female student into his office alone to speak with him. The parent claims that Essary never called her about the incident or meeting with the student in the office. Video footage showed that no one else was in the room with Essary and the student, according to the parent and the Title IX report. 

According to the parent, the student alleges that Essary tried to make the student re-enact the incident at homecoming, either on herself or Essary, even though he had already seen the footage from the recording. The students alleges that Essary patted his own chest and asked her to do it to him if that helped. When the student refused, she alleges that Essary asked her to do it to herself and she did and then she alleges that Essary told her to stand up and had her turn around with her back to him so he could demonstrate it on her. 

The Title IX complaint notes, “The complaint alleges that Mr. Essary put his hand on her shoulders from behind, moved them down her back, and grabbed on her back where her breasts would be.”

Essary denied any such allegation in the Title IX report. Essary has not responded for comment.

Previously, Essary worked at Halls High School as Assistant Principal, as a history teacher and coach at Westview High School, as a teacher/coach at Gibson County High School and as a teacher/coach at Greenfield High School. Essary resides in Weakley County.

The parties involved can still appeal the Title IX decision. Other investigations are still being conducted at this time by law enforcement and children’s services.

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