0

Teacher charged with child molestation

ALBANY -- A Sherwood Christian Academy secondary school geometry teacher was arrested Monday afternoon on a charge of child molestation. School officials say the charge is not related to his work at the school.

According to the Dougherty District Attorney's Office, Shawn Elliott Baxley, who had taught at Sherwood for three years, was arrested around 5:50 p.m. Monday.

Baxley, 35, was arraigned Tuesday morning at the Dougherty County Jail on the charge and was denied bond pending a hearing before a Superior Court judge.

Capt. Craig Dodd of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office said school officials contacted the sheriff's office after allegations of possible child molestation surfaced Monday.

Upon investigation, deputies made contact with a girl who said an incident happened at her former residence on Whispering Pines in 2008 when she was 13 years old.

"The young lady was interviewed and found to be very credible," Dodd said. "We then interviewed Mr. Baxley, who gave us a statement and was charged. ... The statement was enough, along with other information we obtained, to arrest him and take him to the Dougherty County Jail."

Baxley was charged with one count of child molestation.

Sherwood Christian Academy Headmaster Glen Schultz said Baxley's arrest was "an unfortunate incident."

"It (Baxley's charge) did not relate to any of his responsibilities at the school," he said. "We are praying for him and his family."

Schultz said he was made aware of Baxley's arrest Monday.

Deputies further verified that charges against Baxley did not happen on school grounds.

"It (the alleged incident) has nothing to do with Sherwood or Mr. Baxley's job as a teacher and had nothing to do with the campus," Dodd said.

Sheriff's officials said Tuesday that they are checking with schools in Florida and Alabama where Baxley previously worked to determine if there is any history of similar complaints.

A background check was run on Baxley when he was hired for his teaching position at Sherwood, but it is unclear if the check only researched any charges or arrests in Georgia.

Phone calls seeking comments from Sherwood Christian Academy about the background check on Baxley were not returned Tuesday.

On his staff page at Sherwood Christian Academy's Web site, Baxley wrote: "The goal for my students is to have them see God present in every day life ... I hope that my students know that I care about them unconditionally and that I want them to grow spiritually and academically."

In addition to teaching geometry at the school, Baxley was a track-and-field coach and taught 6th- and 7th-grade Bible studies.