Fort Mill Times

Teacher charged with lewd acts still in jail

Jonathan Jens
Jonathan Jens

An Indian Land Middle School teacher has been arrested and charged with a sex crime against a student.

Jonathan Jens, 36, of 104 Webbs Mill Drive, Fort Mill, was arrested Monday, June 1, at the school on three felony counts of lewd act upon a child under 16.

Lancaster County Undersheriff Maj. David Belk said that on May 31, the department received a call about a runaway teenage girl. After locating the girl, a student at Indian Land Middle School, investigators said she told them she ran away because she was distraught over a relationship with Jens.

"From there, of course, we developed that information, picked up the case and got the charges," Belk said.

Jens is a world geography teacher and the coach of the boys basketball team.

Bryan Vaughn, the school district's director of safety and transportation, said Jens, who was still in custody Monday, is on administrative leave pending further investigation by the sheriff's office.

"We are still in the process of gathering facts and information from the sheriff's department, so we are still awaiting some of those results," Vaughn said. "At that point, we'll go through our normal disciplinary procedures that we have in place when allegations are made against our employees."

Jens was in his second year of teaching in Indian Land and Vaughn said there have been no prior incidents involving him. When hired by the district, Jens underwent a background check that was clear, Vaughn added.

"There were no indications or red flags in his past," Vaughn said. "And from my knowledge he has been a good employee otherwise."

According to a Lancaster County Sheriff's Office report, the girl ran away after her parents questioned her about "some possible inappropriate activities between [the girl] and a teacher at Indian Land Middle School."

Information about an alleged relationship between the girl and a teacher at her school surfaced in notes the girl passed to a friend at church, according to the report. Police said when the girl was questioned, she answered in writing that in one incident, Jens hugged and kissed her in a classroom during a lunch break.

In another incident, on Wednesday, May 27, according to the report, Jens "did kiss the victim upon the mouth/lips and inside of her mouth with is tongue. [Jens] also kissed the victim on her neck, removed her shirt and fondled her breast and placed his hands inside of her pants and fondled her buttocks while lying on a sleeping bag in a wooded area near her home between 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m."

Police have no information about Jens being involved with any other students.

"At this point, no one else has come forward," Belk said. "The investigation is still ongoing."

As of Monday morning, Jens was still being held in the Lancaster County Detention Center, where he's been in custody since last Monday. His bond was set at $250,000, according to the sheriff's office.