Brian Scott Keeton, 38, of Carbon Hill, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of being a school employee engaging in a sexual act with a student under the age of 19, which is a Class B felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison if convicted.
This arrest comes only five days after Vina physical education teacher Sonny Dewaine Tibbs, 35, of Hamilton, was arrested on three counts of the same charge after law enforcement officials discovered he had allegedly been sexually involved with a 17-year-old Vina senior.
Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said Keeton is accused of having sex with a different 17-year-old female student on one occasion.
Oliver said the alleged incident did not take place on school grounds.
According to Oliver, the sexual act reportedly occurred recently but the two have allegedly been talking on the phone and through text messages since this summer.
Oliver said the sheriff’s office was made aware of the allegations through the investigation of Tibbs.
“While our investigators were following up on the allegations against Mr. Tibbs, information came to light that indicated Mr. Keeton had also been involved in a sexual relationship with a different student at Vina,” Oliver said.
“Investigators have been looking into those allegations this week and collected enough information to make an arrest on Wednesday.”
Oliver said investigators spoke with the 17-year-old student on Wednesday morning before picking Keeton up at Vina High School for questioning.
Unlike Tibbs, who reportedly confessed to his ongoing relationship with a student, Oliver said Keeton denied the allegations against him.
According to school officials, this was Keeton’s second year as a math teacher at Vina and his first year as the head coach of the boys basketball team.
“We are shocked and saddened at the recent actions alleged against two teachers in our school system,” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Gary Williams said.
“This is certainly not the kind of behavior we would ever condone, and we are cooperating fully with both investigations.”
Williams said because of Tibbs’ confession, he has drafted a letter recommending the termination of Tibbs as an employee of the Franklin County School System.
Tibbs will have 15 days to contest the recommendation for termination and after that time, a school board meeting will be called to vote on the action.
Williams said since Keeton has denied the allegations against him, he will receive a suspension letter on Thursday and will be suspended until the investigation is complete.
Williams said further action could be taken pending the results of that investigation.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said that 16 is the age of consent under Alabama law, but a bill sponsored by Rep. Demetrius Newton (D-Birmingham) and signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley in 2010 made it a felony for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student under the age of 19 based on the position of trust and authority a teacher has over a student.
“This issue has come up recently in our county so there is no excuse for teachers not to realize the criminal repercussions of entering into a sexual relationship with a student,” Rushing said.
Keeton is currently in custody at the Franklin County Jail on a $10,000 bond.