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Russellville school counselor on leave following sexual misconduct charges

Russellville school counselor on leave following sexual misconduct charges

California softball coach knew student's age, victim says

March 7th, 2018 by Staff Reports in Local News
Clairyssa Lorenz

The elementary school counselor at Cole County R-1 (Russellville) Schools, who also is a former assistant softball coach at Moniteau R-1 Schools, is on administrative leave after being charged with two felonies involving sexual misconduct with a minor student.

Clairyssa Lorenz, 27, California, was charged March 1, with second-degree statutory rape and sexual contact with a student, as a result of Moniteau County Sheriff's arrest.

The male victim notified Moniteau County sheriff's deputies Feb. 13 that Lorenz had sexual intercourse with him on multiple occasions June and July 2017, when he was 16, at her residence on West Rice Boulevard in California, at his residence in the county and at locations in Cooper County.

The victim said Lorenz was aware of his age, according to the probable cause statement.

Lorenz has bonded out of the Moniteau County jail. The Moniteau County Sheriff's Office and the State Technical Assistance Team continue to work the case, according to Sheriff Tony Wheatley. A bond of $50,000 was issued with the direction the "defendant shall not associate with any non-familial school-age children," according to Case.net.

If found guilty, she could be sentenced up to 11 years in the department of corrections or fined up to $20,000.

Dustin Dunklee from the Morgan County Justice Center, Versailles, has been appointed as a special prosecuting attorney, as requested by Moniteau County prosecutor Shayne Healea.

Cole County R-1 School hired Lorenz in August 2017 as the elementary counselor. She was placed on administrative leave, Superintendent Perry Gorrell said.

The school sent a letter to parents March 2 assuring, "The district has been informed of the allegations by law enforcement, however, it is our understanding that none of the allegations raised relate to any current or former students of the Cole County R-1 School District.

"The district will continue to monitor the situation and respond to allegations appropriately."

The Russellville High School counselor is pulling double duty at both buildings until they school can find a temporary counselor to fill the remainder of the year.

"Our commitment is to our students, to provide them a safe and caring learning environment," Gorrell said. "We want to assure everyone that the safety and well-being of the students is our primary concern."

Moniteau County R-1 School hired Lorenz as the in-school suspension supervisor, a non-certified position, at California Middle School during the 2016-17 school year, as well as high school assistant softball coach. Lorenz also worked for the California schools August to October 2017 as assistant softball coach only, Superintendent Dwight Sanders said.

Anyone who works at the school, or even volunteers, has a background check run by the school, Sanders said. Policies and descriptions of appropriate teacher-student relationship expectations are discussed with all new hires.

Teachers and other school employees are not to have contact with students on social media and are not to contact students individually, though programs are in place to contact groups including parents via text or other applications.

"We want to make sure folks hired to work with students make moral and ethical decisions," Sanders said.