WHITE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A former middle school teacher in White County has been charged with three counts of rape of a child after he was discovered to have allegedly been engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor.

District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway said the White County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children Services began investigating 27-year-old Austin Damon Allen, a teacher at White County Middle School, earlier this week.

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Officials said the investigation stemmed from allegations that Allen was involved in inappropriate behavior.

Austin Damon Allen (Courtesy: District Attorney General Bryant C. Dunaway)

After learning of the allegations, the White County Director of Schools reportedly suspended Allen from his teaching position, and placed him on leave pending the investigation’s results.

On Friday, Oct. 27, investigative efforts revealed that Allen had engaged in sexual acts with a minor child, according to Dunaway.

Investigators then sought warrants charging Allen with three counts of rape of a child. Allen was taken into custody in Cookeville with the assistance of the Cookeville Police Department.

Authorities reported that Allen was taken to the White County Jail where he was booked and is being held on $750,000 bond, which was set by the White County Judge Commissioner.

White County Schools released on a statement on Saturday:

White County Schools is shocked and deeply saddened by the news surrounding a former middle school teacher, and our thoughts, prayers, and efforts are with the affected children, their families, and our school community. From the initial report, the teacher was suspended, removed from campus, and subsequently had his employment terminated. The school district is fully cooperating with authorities in their investigation and will work diligently to serve our community to navigate the waters in the wake of this deplorable incident. If anyone has information pertaining to this case, please contact the White County Sheriff’s Department. If you or a child are in need of counseling services, please contact the school system. This chapter is not a reflection of our school district and the incredible employees who lovingly serve students each day, and together, we will rebuild the trust and integrity that was damaged by the acts of one individual. As this is an ongoing investigation, the district has no further comment at this time.

Kurt Dronebarger, Director of Schools

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Dunaway said the investigation remains ongoing, and that additional charges are forthcoming.

Anyone with information regarding any other potential victims is asked to call the District Attorney General at 931-528-5015 or the White County Sheriff’s Office at 931-838-2700.