Ridgeland High teacher's sexual encounters left student 'more and more isolated'

Ridgeland High teacher's sexual encounters left student 'more and more isolated'

June 12th, 2018 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News
Rodney Dewayne Mann is charged with sexual assault by an authority figure against a 16-year-old Ridgeland High School student.

Rodney Dewayne Mann is charged with sexual assault...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A friend of a Ridgeland High School student reported the girl's sexual encounters with a teacher out of fear for the girl's stability, according to a Walker County Sheriff's Office report.

The 16-year-old victim allegedly had sex with Rodney Dewayne Mann, a math teacher and wrestling coach at the school, on May 30. After hearing about the incident, the girl's friend told her own father and the victim's parents about the incident. The case was reported to the sheriff's office around 8:15 that night.

"She is worried about [the victim] because she can tell that [the victim] is becoming more and more isolated," the responding deputy wrote in a report, obtained by the Times Free Press on Monday through an open records request. " [The friend] understood that what was occurring was wrong and she was afraid for [the victim's] well-being."

According to the report, the victim told investigators she had sex with Mann twice. Sheriff Steve Wilson told Superintendent Damon Raines about the case the next night, and Mann resigned from the school system on June 1. Three days later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Mann on a charge of sexual assault by an authority figure.

In the police interview, the victim said her interactions with Mann started innocently in October, with frequent conversations about school. But they later started messaging each other on Facebook and Snapchat. The victim said Mann told her she was beautiful.

In April, she said, Mann told her that he loved her and wanted to make her happy. He allegedly began to pick her up from where she worked and took her shopping. He bought her gym shorts and food.

"She began to feel like the situation was wrong," the deputy wrote, "but she did not want to get Rodney in trouble."

Beginning in April, according to the report, the victim began staying with Mann at his home in the 1600 block of Ridgeway Road in LaFayette. She said she told her parents she was staying with her friend in Flintstone. At Mann's request, she said, she performed oral sex multiple times. She also said they exchanged photos "of a sexual nature."

"[She] began to cry and stated that she did not want to get anyone in trouble," the deputy wrote, "but she did not know what to do."

The next evening, the sheriff's office received a search warrant for Mann's home to look for female body wash, sex toys, two sex pillows, some of the girl's clothes, notes, Mann's computer and Mann's cellphone.

Mann was released from the Walker County Jail on June 4, the same day he was booked, on a bond of $10,000.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.