SUMNER CO., Tenn. (WKRN) – A former Gallatin High School teacher will spend the next 16 years behind bars after pleading guilty to multiple counts of exploitation of a minor.

The prosecutor said there’s a lesson here for all parents but especially those of teen girls.

The idea your daughter will recognize what is happening is wrong isn’t always the case.

Sometimes teen girls can believe they are actually in a relationship with the abuser, which makes it harder for everyone to detect.

Before you keep reading, we want to warn you the details of the case are disturbing.

“It was one of the worst cases of grooming that I’ve ever seen,” said Jenni Smith, Assistant District Attorney for Sumner County.

Smith said, 38-year-old Douglas Richmond was a beloved teacher and junior varsity baseball coach at Gallatin High School.

“Everybody had a crush on this teacher, including our victim,” she said.

At just 14-years-old, the teen felt special when Richmond set his sights on her.

“This particular teacher gave his cell phone number to the entire class, which I feel was a big mistake, and a big red flag,” said Smith.

What started as a text exchange turned into a distasteful discussion when Richmond moved the conversation to the social app Kik.

“It was just friendly banter back and forth about football games.” Smith continued, “He starts telling her how to pose for pictures for him. She doesn’t know what a lot of the terminology is that he’s talking about, and he explains it to her.”

Days turned into months. “He’s got her sending complete nudes of herself to him, and he is sending complete nudes of himself to her, including masturbation videos of himself. Most of the pictures he was taking and the videos he was taking were from inside the school, inside his classroom, and inside the training facility at the high school.”

His last attempt failed. “He tried very hard to get her to come engage in sexual relations in his classroom after school. But, she did not do so,” said Smith.

No one suspected anything.

The teen wasn’t acting any differently.

“She thought that this was just a normal sort of relationship happening.” She continued, “It wasn’t until one of her friends actually saw part of the text chain and reported it, that it actually came forward.”

If it were not for that friend, Smith fears the ending would be even worse.

“He told her to delete these messages. Had she not ignored that, we would have never been able to prove the case,” said Smith.

As difficult as it is to comprehend, this inappropriate engagement isn’t unusual to Smith who reviews sex crimes against children every day.

She explained some teens don’t realize what’s happening to them is wrong.

This is why she wants parents to be hyper-vigilant and engaged. She warned solely depending on the school system to protect your child from a predator is unrealistic.

“Perpetrators of sex crimes against children don’t have criminal records until they get caught,’ she explained.

Take Richmond for example, he bounced around from high school to high school in four different states landing in Tennessee with no criminal past.

“You give a teacher a chance to resign instead of firing them. There’s no documented record of their prior behavior,” she said.

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Smith believes there could be more victims and that breaks her heart.


People in positions of authority are preying on Tennessee children. News 2 investigates the disturbing trend and shares important information that parents need to know in our special reports Position of Authority.