Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023|
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A Konawaena Middle School teacher facing three counts of sexual assault against a minor has been placed on leave.
John Lee Franks, 43, of Ocean View, was indicted Feb. 23 on two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a minor and one count of continuous sexual assault of a minor stemming from alleged incidents committed against a girl between November 2021 and mid-February. Court records indicate Franks also goes by the name John Pryor.
According to a charging complaint filed Feb. 17, Franks knowingly engaged in “sexual penetration” with a minor female born in 2009, who was less than 14 years old, on Nov. 9, 2021, and Feb. 10 and 14 of this year.
A $150,000 bench warrant issued following the Feb. 23 indictment has yet to be served. Franks had posted on Feb. 18 $50,000 bail set by District Court after the complaint was filed Feb. 17.
With the indictment of the case in Circuit Court, a preliminary hearing in District Court, during which prosecutors would have worked to show they had probable cause to support the charges, is now off the calendar.
Cara Phillips, a communications specialist, with the state Department of Education, said Wednesday that Franks had been placed on leave without pay pending an ongoing investigation by the department.
Franks most recently worked as a student services coordinator at Konawaena Middle School. He was first employed with the department in 2008 as a special education teacher.
According to the department, the alleged offenses did not occur on a public school campus.
All three offenses are Class A felonies, each of which can result in 20 years behind bars if Franks is convicted.
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