High school teacher, coach accused of student sex assault in Catawba Co.

High school teacher, coach accused of student sex assault in Catawba Co.
Jeb Bass appeared in court Tuesday morning. (Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)
Jeb Bass appeared in court Tuesday morning. (Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Catawba County high school teacher and coach has been arrested on student sex assault allegations, officials said.

Jeb Stuart Bass, a social studies teacher and assistant football and basketball coach at Fred T. Foard High School, is facing one count of statutory rape and one count of sex offenses with a student.

Authorities say the victim was 15 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.

According to school district officials, Bass was hired at Fred T. Foard High School in 2014 as a social studies teacher and was made full-time six months later.

Deputies say the charges stem from an investigation that began a week ago after information came in to the Sheriff's Office.

"We've been working on it hard the past 24 hours," said Captain Jason Reid. "We are still interviewing people as well."

Investigators say they do not believe the alleged incidents happened on school grounds but would not give a location.

Officials are now working with Catawba County Schools regarding the allegations.

According to school officials, Bass was suspended, with pay, Monday pending the outcome of the investigation.  Superintendent Dr. Matthew Stover says he plans to notify Bass that he intends to recommend to the Catawba County Board of Education that he be dismissed and suspended without pay.

"Catawba County Board of Education's policies prohibit any form of sexual misconduct and interaction between students and employees," a statement from school officials said. "The Board would like to remind all students to be ever vigilant in immediately reporting any form of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to their parents and administrators."

Bass posted his $36,000 bond Monday night and came to court for what normally is a routine first appearance where future court dates are set and the judge can ask if the defendant needed a court-appointed lawyer.

After Bass said he would hire one and filled out papers acknowledging that, District Attorney David Learner asked the judge to increase the bond to $100,000 citing "the severity of the charges."

The judge would not do that, instead, raised it to $75,000.

Bass was then led to jail by deputies in the courtroom. By late Tuesday afternoon, he remained behind bars.

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