Courtney Jarrell was placed in two positions of strong authority at Jordan (Utah) Riverton High: teaching math and leading the sophomore team in the girls basketball program. In a disturbing turn, it now appears clear that Jarrell used that authority to violate one of the very students she was charged with protecting.
As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of other outlets, the Salt Lake Tribune among them, Jarrell was arrested on charges of object rape and felonious sexual abuse in connection with a disturbing sexual relationship she had with one of her 17-year-old female students. The Tribune reported that the object rape charge against Jarrell counts as a first-degree felony while the sexual abuse charge is weighted as a second-degree felony.
Jarrell is 22 years old while her alleged victim is 17.
According to Jordan School District officials, Jarrell was suspended from her positions with the school when allegations of the student affair first arose in March, with the school board turning the case over to police. When more specific details of the relationship between the two arose, including the degree to which the two participated in sexual acts at the coach's house, Jarrell resigned permanently.
"We immediately looked into it, and within hours of the complaint, she was suspended, and everything was turned over to Draper police," Jordan School District spokesperson Sandra Riesgraf told the Tribune. "We felt that it was something that rose to that level [of police involvement]."
The police clearly agreed, though Jarrell's attorney insisted that the departure was mutual, and that his client had left the school specifically to prepare to defend her name.
While such allegations about any teacher would stun their respective students, those who spoke up in the immediate aftermath of Jarrell's resignation remembered a teacher who was nearly universally beloved.
"Everybody loved her," Riverton student Kathryn Orchard told Salt Lake City TV network KSL. "My parents were even way shocked because my parents loved her too. They thought she was a great teacher."