By GARY POPP
A former volunteer band instructor at Jeffersonville High School is wanted by police on allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student and band member when he was assisting the band.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of William O. Mackle, 21, Webster Boulevard in Jeffersonville. Mackle has been charged in a Clark County court with sexual misconduct with a minor, a class C felony. He remained at-large as of press time.
Although he helped the band at the time of the incident with the minor, he is no longer a band volunteer at JHS has since been banned from all school property, according to a statement released today by Greater Clark County Schools.
“Greater Clark immediately dismissed Mr. Mackle from his volunteers duties when the inappropriate conduct was first reported,” according to an emailed statement from Erin Bojorquez, supervisor of communications for Greater Clark County Schools.
According to the charge issued by the Office of the Clark County Prosecutor, the alleged crime involves “fondling or touching, of either the child or of [Mackle], with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of the either the child or of [Mackle].”
Jeffersonville police began investigating the sexual interaction between Mackle and the girl, a freshman, after the child’s mother came to JHS on Sept. 6 and disclosed her suspicions of an inappropriate relationship between her daughter and Mackle to the school’s assistant principal, Tim LaGrange, according to a probable-cause affidavit. A Jeffersonville Police Department officer working at the school as a school resource officer was called to LaGrange’s office about 9:30 a.m. that day to join the meeting. The officer reported the mother discovered text messages on her child’s iPad the night before that led her suspecting 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 made the mother disconcerted. She believed, at the time of the meeting in LaGrange’s office, that it was Mackle who dropped off her daughter.
The school resource officer handed the case over to a JPD investigator who obtained an iPad and iPhone from the child’s mother that had been used by her daughter. The investigator also scheduled an interview with the child. The investigator reported the child was “extremely guarded when speaking about [her relationship with Mackle] and confirmed she was in love with him.” The girl also said the sexual nature of the relationship was limited to kissing on one occasion.
Later in the day, the investigator visited Mackle as his home.
“Mackle advised he knew why we were here and agreed [to] ride with us to the Jeffersonville Police Department for an interview,” according to the affidavit.
The investigator reported that Mackle acted extremely nervous and kept making unprompted statements about his relationship with the child while in the vehicle.
“Mackle denied kissing and or touching [the girl],” according to the affidavit. “He also stated multiple times he did not mean for this relationship to happen.”
Mackle told the investigator he wanted to cooperate, but gave false statements before and after he was read his Miranda warning, such as his phone number, the investigator reported.
During the interview, Mackle admitted to being in a relationship with the girl, and said he believed that she was 15 years old. He said he met the girl through Jeffersonville High School band and that he still has friends involved in the program. Mackle said he and the child had been texting daily for about a month before the mother discovered their relationship.
Mackle told the investigator that he and the girl had gone to his home Sept. 4 after a band practice.
“He initially advised his sister was there and [he and the child] only kissed once,” according to the affidavit. “However, later admitted to passionately kissing and clothed, simulated intercourse.”
Mackle denied consent to have his cell phone searched by police, but the investigator seized the phone with the intent of obtaining a search warrant.
The girl was subjected to a forensic interview Sept. 16, at which time she said Mackle and her had been texting one another for about six weeks. She said that Sept. 4, Mackle had picked up three other band members and her from band practice, dropped off the other students and taken her to his home.
The two then laid together on a couch in the home’s basement, the child reported, and “advised she didn’t recall ‘grinding’ [clothed, simulated intercourse] with Mackle; however, advised if [Mackle] said it happened, then she ‘guesses’ it happened,” according to the affidavit.
Through investigation, police determined the two began texting Aug. 17. The investigator reported Mackle attempted to gain the child’s trust by asking for personal information and providing the same. Mackle also told the girl not to tell that they “text like this,” and that he thought she the “cutest” laugh he has ever heard.
The investigator reported, “Mackle stated after only approximately 5 1/2 hours of texting that he knew [the child], ‘Maybe a bit better than you know yourself.’”
In the text history, Mackle also “ ... requested she ‘sneak to the restroom and take a picture’ of herself,” according to the affidavit.
The text history, which ended Sept. 6, also includes the two making plans to marry when the child turns 18 years old.
In the emailed statement, Greater Clark said they have worked with JPD on the investigation.
“The appropriate safety procedures were followed by Greater Clark County Schools [i.e. background check] and the safety of our students is our top priority,” the statement reads.
For updates of the Jeffersonville police’s efforts to locate and arrest Mackle, log onto newsandtribune.com and read upcoming print editions.