- Amanda C. Coyne The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A former long-term substitute teacher at Providence Christian Academy has been charged with sexual assault after a student told police he repeatedly groped her, forcibly kissed her and asked her for nude photos over Snapchat.
Derren Justin Evans is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. The AJC is not identifying the student because she is an alleged victim of sexual abuse.
Evans had worked as a “full-time substitute” at the Lilburn school since the fall semester, also serving as a football coach. A background check was conducted before Evans was hired and “nothing came up” to give Providence concern, Head of School Sean Chapman said in an interview Thursday. Evans was dismissed and banned from school grounds when the student reported the alleged abuse.
“This matters to us. We take the safety of our students, faculty and staff very seriously,” Chapman said. “We responded immediately, removed him from class and we have been fully cooperative all the way through.”
A female student noticed Evans began talking to her more at the beginning of the spring semester. He often made sexual remarks towards her, including holding two basketballs up to her chest and remarking, “those looked like boobs,” a police report said.
The school was investigating a report of inappropriate comments made by Evans to another student when the allegations of sexual abuse were made, Chapman said.
The student and Evans connected on Instagram and Snapchat. When he began sending her private messages, the student thought he was trying to act as a mentor, and they began conversations over the social media apps, the report said. Evans asked the girl to turn off message logging, meaning no records would be kept of their Snapchat correspondence, according to police.
Providence Christian Academy doesn’t prohibit students and faculty from contacting each other on social media, but encourages faculty and staff to be “wise” with their use of it, Chapman said.
In March, Evans invited the student to have lunch in his office, the report said. The two were alone in the office when she arrived. Once she sat down, Evans began rubbing her shoulders and kissing her neck, the report said. Evans also put his hands down the girl’s shirt and grabbed her breasts, according to police. The girl told him, “I don’t want this,” and left the office. She later sent Evans a Snapchat message telling him they “should not have contact like that,” the police report said.
Evans groped the student in the gym and a school hallway after the first alleged assault, police said. Two weeks after the first incident, Evans allegedly asked the student to talk to him in his office. He again tried to grab the student’s breast, the report said. The student left his office, but Evans followed her, kissed her neck and asked her to return to the office, according to the report. When she returned to the office, he tried to kiss her again, and she left, the report said.
That night, the student sent Evans another Snapchat message telling him to “stop touching her,” the report said. Evans responded by asking her to send him nude photos, according to police.
The next day, March 23, the student overheard classmates talking about Evans allegedly touching another student inappropriately, and she got upset and began to cry. She left class and told a counselor about Evans’ actions. The counselor then called police.
Evans denied the allegations when asked by a school resource officer. He was told to leave the school and not return. He was arrested May 17.
The allegations the victim overheard in class were not formally reported to the school or police.
Evans, a former varsity football player for Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners and Presbyterian College, runs his own personal training company, according to his LinkedIn page. A call to a phone number listed for Evans was not answered. Police said Evans has a lawyer, but the lawyer’s information was not available Thursday.
He is also listed as a former football coach at Wesleyan, working in that position from 2015 to January 2016. Wesleyan did not immediately return a request to confirm Evans’ employment history.
Evans is one of three teachers arrested on sexual assault charges involving a student in the past three days. A Meadowcreek High School teacher and a teacher at Parkview High School have also been arrested.
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