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UPDATE: Matewan teacher accused of sexual abuse turns self in to police

Posted: Updated:
Jennifer Parsons Jennifer Parsons
Jennifer Parsons Jennifer Parsons
Matewan, WV -

UPDATE:

According to the West Virginia State Police, Jennifer Parsons has turned herself in to the Mingo County detachment of the State Police.

Parson is accused of sexual abuse by a parent, custodian or guardian.

She is being held in the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $150,000 bond.

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ORIGINAL:

Matewan is a small town.  Neighbors said Wednesday that it is not the place they would expect sexual abuse by a parent, custodian, or guardian charges to be filed, especially in connection with a well-known local teacher and coach. "It's disgusting," said one Matewan resident. 

Troopers with the West Virginia State Police said it started on December 6.  The principal of Matewan K-8 called authorities and said Jennifer Parsons, a math teacher and soccer coach at the school, was having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female student.  

According to troopers, the principal said a previous investigation had taken place prior to her alerting authorities in regard to an alleged relationship between the victim and Parsons.  The initial investigation, according to troopers, was conducted by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

During that first investigation, it was alleged that the two were writing love notes, calling each other "babe", and touching each other on various parts of their bodies, troopers said. 

Troopers said the principal stated that Parsons had been cleared following the initial investigation, but that the complaints continued.  That's when, according to troopers, the principal alerted authorities.

Perlicia Hamilton lives in Matewan.  She said, "I don't see how anybody could do something like that."

Troopers said multiple students have come forward, saying they've witnessed the allegations. They added that in an interview, the victim told them she and Parsons said they loved each other, that the teen told them she stayed at Parson's home on multiple occasions and rode in her car to get there.  Other allegations include that the two burned each others love notes, and kissed for the first time inside the school, according to State Police. 

At first, troopers said, Mrs. Parsons was the only suspect facing charges in this case, However, now they say additional charges are expected to be filed.  This time, against her husband, John Parsons, for allegedly committing the same crimes.  His victim, troopers said, is another 13-year-old student who troopers said just recently came forward.

Jennifer Parsons' charges were filed Wednesday.  John Parsons are pending following further investigation.  Hamilton said, "I think they need to turn themselves in.  It's not right.  They need to."

Parsons is charged with sexual abuse by a parent, custodian, or guardian.  The Kentucky State Police are assisting in the investigation.  Troopers said they believe the Parsons are staying there.

We called the Mingo County Board of Education and spoke with Superintendent Randy Keithley.  He said he could not comment at this time, citing personnel issues, but added that they are cooperating fully with the State Police investigation. 

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the Parsons, or if you have any information regarding this case, you're asking to contact either Kentucky or West Virginia State Police.