Teacher Faces Sex Charges Involving Student

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A metro high school teacher is in custody after being charged with child molestation, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

James N. Owens, 27, of Lee's Summit faces one felony count of enticement of a child and a misdemeanor count of second-degree child molestation.

According to court documents, Owens - a music teacher at William Chrisman High School in Independence - is accused of having a number of Facebook chats, phone calls and text messages of a sexually-explicit nature with a 14-year-old female student. In addition, investigators say that they found topless pictures of the alleged victim on Owen's computer hard drive.

Prosecutors also say that the alleged victim told a school counselor that she and Owens had been having a relationship involving kissing and touching since last March, and that the contact had occurred in the school band room.

Prosecutors have requested a $75,000 bond for Owens.

On Tuesday evening, the Independence School District released a statement on the charges, saying that they are seeking to terminate Owens' contract with the district, and that they were first made aware of the allegations three months ago but were asked by police to not release any information about the case until prosecutors were ready to file charges.

"The allegations were brought to the district’s attention more than three months ago," the district says in the statement. "The district immediately put that teacher on leave, and he has not been back to school since. In the meantime, the district has been doing its own investigation and doing everything possible to aid police with their investigation."

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