A former Lavaca teacher and alderman will have his day in court after being arrested on sexual indecency and harassment charges. Some people in town openly support Jack James, while others are outraged.
“I think it's awful. I don't think he's guilty,” said Donna Cole, a supporter. “He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
“We don’t know what to think really,” said Gina Heddings, a supporter. “We don’t know if it’s true or not and we don’t want it to be.”
This case has the town of Lavaca divided.
“The facts of this case do not lie and these kids are not lying,” said a parent.
Officers arrested James last week. “We had some allegations about a former employee,” said Lavaca Schools Superintendent Steve Rose. “The allegations were turned over to local law enforcement for further action.”
James is accused of making a student expose himself and asking others to do the same. State police say the former teacher told an 8th grader he wanted to do sex acts with the child.
“What I though could never happen, happened to my family,” said a parent who claims her child is a victim.
5NEWS concealed the identity of the parent to protect the child.
“These children are heroes,” said the parent. “They are brave to come forward. They’re victims. They are not the criminals.”
After the arrest some people created a Facebook page called “We Support Jack James.” Supporters also set up bank accounts to help pay his legal fees. Some women in town organized a bake sale, which was later cancelled.
“I love him and he's got my full support,” said Heather Cates, a supporter.
5NEWS contacted Jack James. He refused to talk on camera, but told 5NEWS he is not a monster. His supporters agree. “He's just an awesome person. You know he'd do anything for ya,” said Rhonda Bias, a supporter.
“Seems really intelligent and a Christian we thought,” said Heddings.
The alleged victims have their own Facebook page called “We Support The Kids/Victims In Lavaca Arkansas.”
“I want him to know I know what you did,” said a parent of one of the alleged victims. “You can hide behind your 500 Facebook supporters all you want. The court of law is gonna handle this and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.”
Investigators say there are multiple child victims. James is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 10.