The Carter County Sheriff's Department, in cooperation with the Murray County Sheriff's Department, has turned over its investigation into allegations against former Dickson teacher Stephenie Ringwald to District Attorney Craig Ladd.
Carter County Deputy Donny Raley said the report was turned over to Ladd Monday, and recommended seven charges ranging from sexual crimes to providing alcohol to minors. Raley did not specify the recommended charges, but said four felonies have been referred to the DA in Murray County, and two felonies and a misdemeanor have been referred to Carter County.
Ringwald is the daughter of Sherry Howe, who resigned her position as Dickson superintendent last week. Ringwald resigned her teaching position at the beginning of the school year.
During a prior interview, Howe indicated Ringwald resigned because of a bullying incident she instigated. Howe's attorney Richard O'Carroll gave a conflicting reason when he said in a statement Ringwald was "implicated in perhaps contributing to the delinquency of minor students. Ms. Howe demanded and obtained her resignation. That matter is now an issue for law enforcement and the courts."
Raley said the department has interviewed 16 to 17 kids, five faculty members at Dickson Public Schools and five members of the community as part of the criminal investigation. The reason for the number of interviews is to determine if crimes took place and to corroborate the statements of the kids involved. A number of interviews continue to take place upon the request of Ladd, who is considering formal charges.
"I have reviewed the report and have requested some follow-up," Ladd said. "I do not anticipate this will result in any great delays, and plan to make a decision on how to best proceed soon."
Raley said he expected to be finished with the interviews by Friday. The investigation began Aug. 29, and goes back to events taking place since June 1. Raley said search warrants have been executed on Ringwald's cell phone and at her residence in Sulphur with Murray County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney investigator.
Other than an issue of Howe driving by the sheriff's department while Dickson cheerleaders were interviewed, Raley said the interviews have proceeded smoothly despite some people having misgivings about becoming involved.
"I appreciate the cooperation of the kids, faculty and students," he said. "My hat's off to them for being so cooperative."