Enquirer Herald

Former York teacher charged

A York Comprehensive High School teacher and boys’ basketball coach who resigned last month has been charged with “sexual battery” after district officials said they learned he had a sexual relationship with a student, authorities said.

Jabari Ali Patton, a former masonry teacher and York Comprehensive High varsity boys’ basketball coach, quit May 17 after district leaders confronted him about allegations that he was involved with one of his students, Superintendent Vernon Prosser said.

“We accepted his resignation and turned it over to law enforcement,” Prosser said.

Patton turned himself into authorities Wednesday and was booked at the Moss Justice Center in York. A bond has not been set.

Patton, 33, allegedly had at least one sexual encounter with a 17-year-old female student from the masonry course he taught at the district’s Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center, according to copies of a Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant obtained by The Herald. The encounter was reported as occurring in March 2011 in Patton’s vehicle on a dirt road off S.C. 161.

The criminal charge stems from a state law that bars anyone “affiliated with a public or private secondary school in an official capacity” from having sex with a student. The law defines “sexual battery” as any sexual act that isn’t “for medically recognized treatment or diagnostic purposes.”

If found guilty of the felony, Patton could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also could lose his teaching license.

The student, who graduated this month, is now 18, Prosser said.

In response to a Herald inquiry on May 18 regarding Patton’s resignation, Prosser at the time confirmed the coach had quit for “personal reasons” and declined to elaborate.

On Wednesday, Prosser said he had declined to discuss the matter because he wanted to allow authorities to investigate.

Before resigning, Patton had no complaints in his employee record, Prosser said. Patton worked in the district for four years teaching masonry and coaching sports. He was the varsity boys’ basketball coach for a year.

The district is interviewing applicants for the open brick mason and coaching positions.