Police have arrested a West High teacher after a month-long investigation into allegations that he sexually abused one of his students.
Sterrett Neale, 54, was arrested Wednesday and booked into jail on suspicion of three counts of forcible sexual abuse, three counts of forcible sodomy and three counts of object rape, according to jail records.
Neale is a creative writing and language arts teacher at West High School, according to his faculty page. Salt Lake City School District spokeswoman Yándary Chatwin said Neale had been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
According to the probable cause statement, Neale and the then-17-year-old student would engage in sexual activities about twice a week in Neale’s classroom from March 2017 to May 2017. In August of that year, the student said, she started going to Neale’s house and alleged he continued the sexual interactions. She said she went to his house once a week or once every other week from then until this past February.
Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Perea said the investigation so far revolves around accusations made by the student, but that police are asking for other alleged victims to come forward.
In a letter from the school district to parents, the district said, “This allegation is dreadful and, as parents, we know this will be of great concern to you. The employee has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and is currently in the custody of the Salt Lake City Police Department. The allegations against this individual are deeply unsettling, and we are committed to supporting the work of our police department in their investigation."
Perea declined to say how police learned about the allegations, but said detectives began investigating in March.
The Salt Lake Tribune will update this story.