DeSoto Central teacher charged with sexual battery - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto Central teacher charged with sexual battery

Tyler Bigham (Source: Southaven Police Department) Tyler Bigham (Source: Southaven Police Department)

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - Southaven police have arrested a DeSoto Central High School teacher on charges of sexual battery.

Officials said Tyler Bigham, 22, was arrested late Monday night after he was caught having sex with a 17-year-old student in the Snowden Grove baseball complex.

Nobody at DeSoto Central High School is particularly "proud" that music teacher and assistant "Pride of DeSoto Marching Band" director Bigham had been charged.

"It's embarrassing," said senior Morgan White.

White said the news traveled fast.

"That one of the new band directors did something to one of the students in band," she said.

Southaven Police arrested Bigham Monday night after an officer observed a sex act taking place inside a parked car near the ball fields at Snowden Grove Park.  The park is located not far from the school.

"Inside this vehicle were the two individuals," said Southaven Police Chief Tom Long.  "The juvenile and the arrested subject."

Police said this case might not constitute a crime since 16 is the age of consent in Mississippi. However, according to a state statute, "a person is guilty of sexual battery if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a child under the age of 18 years if the person is in a position of trust or authority."

"A teacher, a counselor, a physician, something along that line," Long said.

One DeSoto Central dad tells Action News 5 he'd have a long "talk" with Bigham if it was his daughter with whom he'd had sex.

"Well, I just think it's wrong," said parent Jamie Rutherford.  "I mean, anytime an adult takes advantage of a teenager, it's wrong."

For now, Tyler Bigham is suspended from teaching while the investigation continues.

It appears as if the student was never forced to have sex.  Police cannot comment on how long she and Bigham may have been involved.  The teacher faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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