Kearney Junior High teacher charged with sexually abusing 14-year-old student for months

KEARNEY, Mo. - A math teacher at Kearney Junior High School is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old female student for months.

Rhett Rigby, 25, was charged Monday with four counts of second-degree statutory rape, four counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, one count of sexual contact with a student by a teacher and one count of tampering or attempting to tamper with a victim or witness.

According to court documents, the alleged sexual relationship started in September or October of 2012, when the girl was 14, and continued until May of 2013.

Rigby lives in Oak Grove, Mo., and taught algebra at Kearney Junior High.

The victim, who is now 15 years old, told police in May that she and Rigby had sexual relations in his classroom and in her apartment. She said they sent each other explicit emails and naked pictures, and he gave her a private email address to use, according to the probable cause statement.

The girl said that in the middle of the school year, Rigby became worried that she was pregnant. She said he had her take a pregnancy test using a red Solo cup in a school bathroom.

Rigby allegedly told her he would make her take abortion pills "whether she like it or not" if she were pregnant, court documents state. He later sent her a picture of the pregnancy test and told her it was negative.

When school officials questioned Rigby after the accusations were made, he denied having sent or received any pictures from students, and said he never had sexual relations with a student.

The next day, a school administrator found a pregnancy test in Rigby's desk, according to the probable cause statement. One of the tests was gone, and the other test was still in the box. The package was turned over to police.

Rigby resigned from the Kearney School District, effective at the end of the school year. District officials said they accepted his resignation in February before learning about the sexual abuse allegations. He was placed on administrative leave after the accusations were made and no longer works for the district.

Rigby graduated from Oak Grove High School in 2006, and Pittsburg State University in 2010 with a degree in math, according to the Oak Grove Heat baseball website. He coached the high school's baseball team for three years, his biography on the website states. Rigby also coached football for Kearney High School.

Neighbors in Oak Grove were on edge after finding out about the charges.

"It makes me nervous," Cathy Kelly explained. "I have a 16-year-old daughter -- I don't want someone like that living next to me."

Rigby turned himself in without incident Monday afternoon, but he was out of jail that evening after posting a $100,000 bond. He's expected in Clay County District Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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