School threat suspect now charged with statutory rape in Sequatchie County, Tenn.

School threat suspect now charged with statutory rape in Sequatchie County, Tenn.

March 14th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Zachary Damian Key

Zachary Damian Key

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The teenager charged with filing a false report in Sequatchie County, Tenn., last week after allegedly threatening to "shoot up a school" now has been charged with statutory rape.

Zachary Damian Key, 19, a former Sequatchie County student, was charged Saturday with statutory rape after information was obtained during police interviews in the joint investigation by the Dunlap Police Department and Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department into the school threat, according to a statement posted on the police department's Facebook page.

Dunlap police Chief Clint Huth said Tuesday that detectives from both departments were talking with Key about the threat incident on Friday and began pursuing "a line of questioning regarding Key's involvement in a statutory rape investigation" and also "interviewed the alleged rape victim," en route to the charge.

Huth said the alleged victim is more than four years younger than Key.

After the threat investigation was concluded and authorities deemed it a "hoax," the chief said Key was charged in the statutory rape probe.

In last week's threat investigation, Sequatchie County and Dunlap authorities said they received information at 11:45 a.m. on March 9 about a possible threat by a former student on social media.

All three Sequatchie County schools — an elementary, middle and high school on a single campus — were locked down and law enforcement officers flooded the campus, police said.

Once authorities determined no suspect was on the grounds, they downgraded actions to a "soft" lockdown, but kept some officers on campus while others went looking for a suspect.

Officers found Key at a Dunlap business around 1:20 p.m. CST and took him to the Dunlap Police Department, according to the release. Upon questioning, detectives from both departments determined Key had no intent to do any harm at the schools and that the incident was a hoax, police said.

Key is being held without bond in the Sequatchie County Jail, the release stated.

On Tuesday, Huth said the sheriff's department was the lead agency on the school threat case and the police department was acting as lead agency on the statutory rape case.

Key faces an initial appearance in Sequatchie County General Sessions Court on Friday.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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