Since a 13-year-old girl's parents' complaint against a Lakeview Middle School band director prompted his resignation and led to criminal charges, the girl has been harassed at school and her father says he doesn't know what to do.
The father, whose name is being withheld to protect his daughter's identity, said his seventh-grade daughter has been spit on, called a "whore" and harassed by other students and parents since Lakeview Middle School band director Thomas Blevins resigned in the midst of an investigation. The parents brought text messages to school officials in November that showed Blevins was trying to text their daughter late at night on Thanksgiving.
"My little girl is being spit on," the father said. "I'm sick of it, and I don't know what to do."
School officials say they have dealt with the complaint and there has been disciplinary action taken, but they wouldn't go into detail.
"I know it took a lot of courage to make this report," Principal Steve McClure said in a written statement. "We have worked very closely with the parents to support the student since the report was made."
After 29-year-old Blevins resigned on Dec. 5, another teenage girl came forward and complained Blevins had inappropriate contact with her two years ago. She alleged Blevins touched her vagina and that she performed oral sex on him at the middle school, an arrest warrant shows.
But now there is a growing group of supporters online that says Blevins, a husband and father of two, is being falsely accused. Supporters are raising money for his defense.
"We got your back, Thomas! Hang in there," wrote Janne Garrett on a Facebook page supporting Blevins.
"Keep faith Thomas. This too shall pass," Sandra Felix wrote.
Records show there have been three complaints made against Blevins during his five years at Lakeview Middle. The first complaint was in January 2011, but the report couldn't be confirmed by other students or another music instructor, school officials said.
But in the second complaint about the text messages sent late on Thanksgiving, the father of the girl admits he was the one sending the text because the phone belonged to his wife. He said he found the phone and began to send messages thinking he was joking with one of her friends. But he was surprised when the messages became flirtatious.
During the text conversation Blevins asks if the girl wants to cuddle. But later on in the messages one said: "I'm just messing with you. ... You're too young." Blevins also tells the girl she has pretty eyes and a cute nose.
The father became upset when he found out Blevins was 29, and he confronted his daughter. She told him it was the first time he had texted her and he had found her number on Facebook
In the latest complaint that led to criminal charges, the time frame of the alleged molestation is from August 2010 to December 2012 but no specific date is given. The charges against Blevins include aggravated child molestation, two counts of child molestation and false imprisonment.
Catoosa County Maj. Gary Sisk said the dates can be difficult to pinpoint and the incidents are alleged to have taken place on different occasions, so the warrants cover every time the two met.
School officials say the teenage girl wasn't a middle school student at the time, but she returned to Blevins' class at the end of the school day. But they didn't give a specific date either.
Blevins, who went to work for Lakeview Middle in 2007, said on his resume that his two biggest passions in life are children and music.
"I want to impact children's lives in a positive way," he wrote.
He remains in the Catoosa County Jail. No bond has been set.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...