JOHNSTON COUNTY — Shelly Jo Duncan, a Tishomingo alternative teacher and cheerleading coach, has been charged with lewd acts with a child.
Duncan, 48, was accompanied by her attorney Rob Neal, Ada, when she made an initial appearance in Johnston County District Court Wednesday. She appeared in front of Bryan County District Judge Mark R. Campbell. The charge alleges that in September, “the defendant knowingly and intentionally touched the body of a child under the age of 16 in a lewd and lascivious manner.” The charge further accuses the teacher, wife and mother of  kissing the victim “… on the mouth, chest and stomach.”
There are 21 state witnesses listed on the charge.
Campbell, who was assigned the case after Johnston County judges recused from presiding, scheduled a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. June 16. The judge ordered the $20,000 bond Duncan had posted when she was arrested by an OSBI agent  on Sept. 16 to remain in place. Campbell further ruled the stipulations he formerly attached to the bond — surrender her passport, if she has one, to the Johnston County Court Clerk and have no contact with any person under the age of 18 years old, except for immediate family – were to remain in force.
Duncan was arrested in the parking lot of Tishomingo High School on a probable cause affidavit prepared by OSBI Agent Justin Brown. The affidavit says the state law enforcement agency was asked to assist Tishomingo police Sept. 12 after TPD Chief Shannon Smith received a report Duncan was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old boy. The affidavit refers to evidence which includes numerous text messages between Duncan and the victim. In addition, the affidavit refers to a detailed forensic interview with the victim in which he disclosed Duncan’s admonishment not to tell anyone about the relationship because she “could go to prison,” and “did not want her mug shot on the news.”
District Attorney Craig Ladd said at the time of Duncan’s arrest he was waiting on completed investigative reports, adding when he was in receipt of all the information he would review the case and make a decision on “appropriate action.” Wednesday, Ladd said he sent the formal charge to his Johnston County office where Assistant District Attorney Fern Smith officially filed the charge in district court. Smith also represented the state during Duncan’s initial court appearance.
Along with her duties as an alternative teacher and cheerleading sponsor at the time she was arrested, Duncan was also serving as a reserve Murray State College campus police officer. In a statement to The Ardmoreite, Sept. 16, MSC confirmed Duncan had worked as a reserve officer for campus police in the past, primarily at public events where more help was needed. MSC said Duncan was never a full-time employee at the institution. Within hours of her arrest her name had been  removed from the MSC Police Department website.