normal excitement surrounding graduation at Sweetwater
High was tempered Thursday and Friday with the news a
staff member had been charged with allegedly having sex
with one SHS student and sexual battery against two
Cedric Holmes, 31, of Loudon, has been
charged with one count of aggravated statutory rape and
two counts of sexual battery and the investigation is
The 6-foot-5 inch, 240-pound Holmes was
an in-school suspension teacher and volunteer assistant
basketball coach at SHS.
“It’s extremely disappointing to me to
hear this at what is a normally good time of year,”
Monroe County Director of Schools Mike Lowry said
Lowry said Holmes has been fired from his
job at SHS.
The director of schools said Holmes began
working for the school system in August 2007 as a
non-certified employee and had passed all the background
checks school employees must go through.
“There were no red flags,” Lowry said.
Sweetwater Police Detective John Scruggs
on May 13 received information of inappropriate sexual
contact between Holmes and underage female students.
Scruggs, Chief Eddie Byrum and Detective
Marty Kyle determined Holmes had sexual intercourse with
a female SHS student but the incident occurred in Loudon
County, SPD said in a press release.
Detective Patrick Upton of the Loudon
County Sheriff’s Department was notified and immediately
conducted his own investigation resulting in the charge
of aggravated statutory rape in Loudon County.
Further investigation led to information
about other alleged victims at Sweetwater High School,
Investigators said they determined
sometime around March 15 and the following weeks, Holmes
inappropriately and illegally touched and kissed a
female student under the age of 16 on approximately 10
occasions at Sweetwater High.
Scruggs consulted with the district
attorney’s office before charging Holmes with sexual
battery by an authority figure.
His investigation Friday led to a second
charge of sexual battery for alleged crimes against a
third female student and the investigation is still
ongoing, the detective said.
School Resource Officer Laura Perian,
Principal David Watts and other school officials
assisted in the investigation, police said.
Upton said Holmes has not been charged
with the more serious charge of aggravated rape by an
authority figure because he does not believe that the
sex with the student that took place in Loudon County
was coerced and it did not happen on school grounds.
If anyone has further information or
knows of any other possible victims, contact Scruggs of
the Sweetwater Police Department at 423-337-6151.
Lowry took the news extremely hard
because he said Sweetwater High has made good strides in
its graduation rate this year and he is excited about
other programs to improve the school.
He said the safety of students is always
a top priority in the school system.