A teacher at Tuscaloosa County High School has been arrested and charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student there.

The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit investigates almost all allegations of sex crimes in the area, and VCU commander Jack Kennedy said they launched an investigation after hearing reports of an illegal sexual relationship.

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Kennedy said the case led officers to 25-year-old Lorenza Freeman, Jr.

Freeman has been charged with breaking an Alabama law that makes it a Class B felony for a school employee to have any sexual contact with a student under the age of 19. Because of the power dynamics at play, the state does not view alleged consent as a defense of the chargee.

Freeman was arrested and placed in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $30,000 bond.

The VCU rarely releases any identifying information about alleged victims of sex crimes and Kennedy said since this case involves a juvenile, this will be no exception.

Tuscaloosa County School System superintendent Keri Johnson has issued a joint statement with principal Darrell Williams.

"Today, a member of the Tuscaloosa County High School faculty, Lorenza Freeman, was arrested and charged with an inappropriate relationship with a student. Mr. Freeman has been placed on administrative leave and will no longer be on the TCHS campus. Any further information regarding the charges against Mr. Freeman will come from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, as this is a law enforcement investigation.

TCHS and the Tuscaloosa County School System have high expectations for all faculty and staff. We expect our employees to conduct themselves professionally and with honor. Please know that TCSS takes all reports of wrongdoing – whether by staff or students – seriously. TCSS cooperates with law enforcement and works to ensure all matters are appropriately resolved. The safety and well-being of students is our number one priority, at all times.

Please understand that privacy laws govern information a school district can share regarding students or matters involving employee investigations. Just because we do not discuss details of a situation publicly does not mean it is not thoroughly investigated or taken seriously.

We realize situations like this are very upsetting to an entire school community. Students, please know that school counselors are here to support you, if you need someone to talk with."

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