By BRADEN LAMMERS
A former high school band instructor who allegedly had sexual contact with a 14-year-old student pled not guilty in court Monday.
William O. Mackle, 21, Webster Boulevard, Jeffersonville, appeared in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 with his attorney Monday and entered a plea of not guilty after being charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a class C felony. A class C felony carries a penalty of up to eight years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
The Jeffersonville Police Department had issued a warrant for Mackle’s arrest Friday.
According to Clark County Court records, after the initial hearing Monday, Mackle posted the $1,000 cash bond and was released from custody.
The probable cause affidavit alleged that Mackle, while he was working as a volunteer band instructor with Jeffersonville High School, began a relationship with a 14-year-old female student.
JPD began investigating the relationship after the girl’s mother brought her suspicions of inappropriate conduct to school officials. According to the probable cause affidavit, the mother discovered text messages on her child’s iPad the night before that led her to believe that her daughter was having a sexual relationship with Mackle.
Two days earlier, the girl had called her mother from band practice and said that a friend was going to give her a ride home. Later in the day, the mother saw her daughter get out of a vehicle parked a few houses down from the home, which raised her suspicions, and she believed that it was Mackle who dropped off her daughter.
JPD investigators discovered a series of text messages between Mackle and the 14-year-old girl, which police believe began Aug. 17. In the text history, Mackle allegedly asked the girl to take a picture of herself, that the two made plans to marry when she turns 18 years old and that Mackle asked the girl not to tell that the two “text like this.”
According to the probable cause affidavit, the girl said she and Mackle and had been texting one another for about six weeks. And on Sept. 4, she said Mackle had picked her up, with three other band members, and dropped the other students off before taking her to his home.
She said the two laid together on a couch in the home’s basement, according to the affidavit.
When police interviewed Mackle he initially denied kissing or touching the girl. But during the interview, Mackle admitted to being in a relationship with the girl, and said he believed that she was 15 years old, according to the affidavit. He also told police that the two had gone to his home Sept. 4 after a band practice and admitted to “passionately kissing and had clothed, simulated intercourse.”
When police asked the girl about the incident, she said she didn’t recall “grinding” with Mackle, but said if he said it happened, then she guesses it happened, according to the affidavit.
She previously said the sexual nature of the relationship was limited to kissing on one occasion.
Mackle was immediately dismissed from his volunteers duties with the JHS band when the inappropriate conduct was first reported, according to a statement from Erin Bojorquez, supervisor of communications for Greater Clark County Schools.
Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said two pretrial dates have been set and a tentative trial date has been set for March 11, according to Clark County Court records.