Update: Former Owsley County teacher indicted on sexual abuse, bribery charges

Published: Nov. 14, 2019 at 11:22 AM EST
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Update 1/21/2020

James S. Cornett, a former teacher at Owsley County High School, was indicted by a grand jury on January 17.

The grand jury charged that in Lee County, Cornett subjected two students less than 18 years old to sexual contact, one at his home in 2003 and one at Community Christian in 2002. He was also indicted for exposing his genitals to someone while in the shower at his home in 2003.

According to court documents, Cornett tried to bribe two witnesses in 2017 to delete an incriminating video.

Cornet faces two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of indecent exposure, two counts of bribing a witness and two counts of attempting to promote minors under 16 and 18 years old in sexual performances.

Update 11/23/2019

An official from Kentucky State Police said James S. Cornett is now facing two additional charges of sexual abuse, first degree.

Police said Cornett was arrested on Friday and is now being held in the Jackson County Detention Center in McKee, Ky.

If you or someone you know has information about this investigation, you are asked to contact KSP Post 7 at 859-623-2404.

Original Story, 11/14/2019

Kentucky State Police arrested an Eastern Kentucky teacher on Monday.

Troopers said James S. Cornett, 40, of Beattyville had sexual contact with two students.

Cornett is a teacher at Owsley County High School.

He faces two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Police took him to Three Forks Regional Jail in Lee County.

Owsley County High School Principal Lincoln Spence sent parents the following letter:

"This letter is in regard to the arrest and charges filed against a school employee at OCMS/OCHS. As a school, we want to provide parents with factual and correct information concerning this sensitive topic to the extent allowed by law. The employee in question has been placed on administrative leave, and the KY State Police and Social Services are currently investigating. Superintendent Bobrowski is informed of this matter, and while he, nor I, can comment on personnel or student issues specifically, he wanted to share with you that the district is taking these allegations and charges seriously. In addition, the district is actively cooperating with our partners, including the Kentucky State Police and Social Services, to ensure that students and staff are in a safe environment at all times."

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact KSP, Richmond Post.

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