In a case that has sent shockwaves through a Tennessee community, former fourth-grade teacher Alissa McCommon, 38, faces a slew of charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of multiple underage students. The case has taken several dramatic turns since McCommon’s initial arrest in September 2023, culminating in a recent court appearance where she appeared visibly pregnant.

Initial Arrest and Allegations

The Covington Police Department (CPD) first arrested McCommon in September 2023 following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. According to the CPD:

“Multiple juvenile victims have come forth stating that they were befriended by their former teacher, McCommon, who began playing video games with them, and then further engaged with them through mobile phone social media apps, which led to her allegedly sending inappropriate photographs and requesting sexual relations with the victims.”

At the time, the CPD stated there was no evidence any alleged activities occurred on school grounds. However, they claimed McCommon admitted to “communicating inappropriately with former students.”

Rearrested While Out on Bail

After posting a $25,000 bond, McCommon was released. However, her freedom was short-lived. In late September, she was rearrested on new charges:

  • Coercion of a witness
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Harassment

These charges stemmed from alleged contact with one of the underage victims while out on bail. The CPD provided disturbing details about this alleged contact:

“The evidence indicates McCommon texted a victim, using a specific code word known to the juvenile as a code word McCommon would previously utilize to confirm that the juvenile was alone, often before sending nude photographs on SnapChat. After using the code word on 28 September 2023, the evidence indicates McCommon sent multiple text messages to victim indicating he would ‘regret doing this.’ McCommon, using the same number, also admitted to a sexual encounter with the victim.”

Expanding Investigation and New Charges

As the investigation progressed, the scope of the allegations against McCommon expanded significantly. In April 2024, a grand jury returned a 23-count indictment against her following a seven-month investigation. The CPD reported that the investigation had identified 21 potential victims, with the current charges relating to allegations from five victims ranging in age from 12 to 17.

The extensive list of charges includes:

  • Rape of a Child
  • Aggravated Statutory Rape (five counts)
  • Sexual Exploitation by Electronic Means (four counts)
  • Solicitation of a Minor to Commit Aggravated Statutory Rape (four counts)
  • Statutory Rape by An Authority Figure (two counts)
  • Coercion of a Witness (two counts)
  • Aggravated Stalking (two counts)
  • Violation of the Child Protective Act
  • Tampering with Evidence
  • Harassment

Court Appearance and Pregnancy Revelation

McCommon’s recent court appearance in April 2024 drew significant attention when she entered the courtroom appearing to have a baby bump. This visual revelation came just weeks after a disturbing allegation was made during a previous hearing.

At that earlier hearing, which determined whether McCommon would return to custody after her bail violation, prosecutors played audio of McCommon allegedly telling a 12-year-old victim that she was pregnant with his child. This same victim, now 15, took the stand at that hearing, leading the judge to rule that enough probable cause existed for all charges to be bound over to a Tipton County Grand Jury.

During her most recent court appearance, McCommon entered a plea of not guilty to all 23 counts. While she was seen smiling as she entered the courtroom, she did not speak during the proceedings.

Ongoing Investigation and Community Impact

The case against McCommon is a joint investigation between the CPD and the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office. Mark E. Davidson, the district attorney general for Tennessee’s 25th Judicial District, has been assigned to prosecute the case.

CPD Chief Donna Turner emphasized the extensive nature of the investigation, which has involved multiple agencies. She stated:

“Our goal in any of these investigations is to identify any potential victims and provide medical assistance, counseling, and support for their families throughout the investigation. Without this vital intervention, the ripple effect of trauma can last for years with the victims and the family unit.”

The allegations have had a significant impact on the local community. McCommon was suspended without pay from her position by Tipton County Schools when the allegations first came to light.

Legal Implications and Potential Consequences

If convicted on the charge of rape of a child, McCommon would face a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison under Tennessee law. The additional charges carry their own potential penalties, which could result in a lengthy overall sentence if she is found guilty.

Chief Turner has indicated that the investigation may expand to determine the accountability of other adults in the case, including those who may have been aware of the abuse or provided locations for illegal acts to occur. She has also mentioned the possibility of pursuing federal charges related to the sexual exploitation of victims using cellphones and activities across state lines.

As the case progresses, it continues to raise important questions about child protection, the responsibility of educational institutions, and the use of technology in crimes against minors. The community and the families of the alleged victims now face the difficult process of healing and seeking justice through the court system.

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