EXCLUSIVE: Teenage victim’s family talks about sexual abuse claims against teacher
LARUE COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - WAVE 3 was first to report about a teacher facing some charges after claims of an inappropriate relationship with a student. Months later, charges have officially been filed and one of the victim's family is speaking out about what happened.
The victim's family says their son met former English teacher Natalie Gentry when she was his sophomore English teacher at LaRue County High School, but it's not what happened inside the class room that has her facing some serious charges.
"It was devastating as parents because we had entrusted our child with her," the mother told WAVE 3 in an exclusive interview.
The mother of the teenage victim in this case doesn't want her identity known, but is speaking out to encourage officials to move this case forward.
"We were so shocked. This is something you hear that happens to everybody but you and especially living in small town America," she said.
She says her son met English teacher Natalie Gentry at the school, but things took a turn when it came to his part-time lawn care job last summer.
"Her husband was off in Iraq or Afghanistan and she had a baby at home and needed help," she said.
So in a small town where everyone knows everybody, she says her family saw a need, and allowed their son to mow her yard.
"We felt like we just fed him to the wolves because we have tried to raise the boys to be good Samaritans and try to help people and in fact that's how all this generated," she said.
What allegedly happened after he would mow the yard is what concerns the family, and authorities: Gentry was arrested earlier this month, on charges including Sexual Abuse and Official Misconduct.
When asked, "do you have any kind of comment that you'd like to make," she told WAVE 3's Matt McCutcheon, "I don't; I don't."
She didn't want to talk about the charges, but the victim's family is; hoping this former teacher learns a lesson.
"Would I like to see her labeled as a sex offender and all of those things and have the big scarlet letter I guess I would," the mother said.
Her son continues on at school, while everyone is talking about the case.
"It's definitely impacted him. It's changed some of his behaviors and he's just a different person since it's happened," she said. "We were all kind of blind sighted by it. It's one of those little dirty laundries that just ended up in the middle of everywhere and it hit the whole community."
Gentry was suspended from the school with pay starting on September 16, 2011.
In a statement, LaRue County Superintendent Sam Sanders said:
"The teacher was notified in writing on October 24, 2011 of the charges and that her contract with the LaRue County Schools had been terminated pending her right to request a tribunal hearing concerning the charges."
"I have not received a request for a hearing and the timeline has expired. The LaRue County School System has moved forward with the process of hiring of a new teacher. We were able to bring in an excellent substitute teacher for the past several weeks, and I'd like to express my appreciation to her."
Gentry posted $20,000 bond. She's back in court on February 3.
Police say they are not done with this case, saying their investigation continues.
Gentry was booked in to the Hardin County Detention Center and was released after posting bond. She will be arraigned on February 3 in Elizabethtown.
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