Richard Tyson, 43, and Earnest “Tommy” Beechum, 70, charged with sexual battery by an authority figure, solicitation of a minor by an authority figure and sexual exploitation of a minor
Richard Tyson released on $75,000 bond. Earnest Beechum, released on $100,000 bond
Beechum retired as School Board chairman in 2014 after serving 24 years on the board. Tyson was hired as a social studies teacher two years ago after Beechum left the board
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Though both men likely knew each other, neither knew of the other’s relationship with the girl.
Houston Coumty High School history teacher Richard Tyson
A high school teacher and former school board member in Tennessee are accused of having a sexual relationship with the same 15-year-old student. Two men who work for the Houston County School District face several charges over an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student.
Police said Richard Tyson and Ernest Tommy Beechum both abused their power as authoritative figures to have sex with a minor.
Described as a man who would shake students’ hands at graduation, Beechum recently retired as chair after 24 years on the Houston County School Board,
“Mr. Beechum and the juvenile went to church together and it’s from my understanding that’s how they met,” said Houston County Sheriff Kelvin Sugg.
It is believed Beechum had been in a sexual relationship with the female student for at least a year.
Former Houston County School Board chairman, Ernest Beechum
Houston County deputies received an anonymous letter indicating ex-School Board chairman, Beechum had sex with a freshman student, Friday.
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The case was pushed to Investigators Monday, who brought in the alleged victim for questioning. On examination of the victims phone records, a number kept showing up in the records. The number it turns out, belonged to Richard Tyson, the girl’s high school history teacher.
“It was a twist. You go on one and you discover you’ve got two,” Sheriff Sugg said. “She knew Mr. Tyson when she was at school. She had ties with Mr. Beechum as well, all at the same time.”
Police said Tyson who has been at Houston County High School for two year, was an educator in Stewart County before taking up the post at Houstin County High.
Investigators believe Tyson started a relationship with the student earlier this year, which would have been the girl’s freshman year.
Houston County School Board, Ernest Beechum retired as chair in 2014 after serving 24 years
Detectives said the two men did not know each other and both had independent sexual relationships with the underage girl.
“This won’t be a toleration in this county. We’re not going to have it,” Sugg said.
Investigators detailed how the men attempted to cover their tracks using certain code words in their conversations with the minor in an attempt to keep their alleged relationships private.
‘There was a lot of thought put into this,’ Sugg said.
Alleged victim is a freshman at Houston Coumty High School
Tyson and Beechum have been charged with sexual battery by an authority figure, sexual exploitation of a minor by an authority figure and solicitation of a minor by an authority figure, WSMV reported. ‘This won’t be a toleration in this county. We’re not going to have it,’ Sugg said.
Both men bonded out of jail Wednesday afternoon, Tyson was released on $75,000 bond and Beechum was released on a $100,000 bond. Neiyher man is allowed on any school property within Houston County.