A West Jasper School District instructor has been charged with a crime against a student and has been arrested.
Bay Springs High School JROTC instructor Mannix McLaurin, 47, was taken into custody by the Bay Springs Police Department Tuesday morning following a probable cause hearing in front of Mississippi 13th Circuit Judge Stanley Sorey.
McLaurin has been charged with lustful touching of a minor.
The probable cause hearing, in this instance with McLaurin being an educator with the school district, was held so the court could hear statements in order to determine whether the alleged crime could possibly have been committed before formal charges were filed.
BSPD Captain/Investigator Fred Hennington attended the 9 a.m. probable cause hearing Tuesday morning at the Jasper County Courthouse in Bay Springs. Hennington said a complaint had previously been brought to the school and the West Jasper School District about the alleged incident approximately a month ago. Statements were taken into consideration by Judge Sorey Tuesday morning before McLaurin was formally charged and arrested.
“The mother of the juvenile had gone and already signed charges on him (McLaurin). Being that he was a teacher, they had to have this probable cause hearing to see if there was enough there for the Judge to sign a warrant, and he did (sign the warrant),” Hennington explained. “Letters had been sent to him (McLaurin), to the victim, and to the witness to be in court today (Tuesday). It was mainly for everyone that had done a statement. That’s who was there, and it was done to determine whether there was enough information to go forward to a Grand Jury.”
Judge Sorey set McLaurin’s bond at $25,000, and McLaurin was released from the Jasper County Jail on bond the same day.
West Jasper School District Superintendent Warren Woodrow said late Tuesday night he was aware of the situation, but was unable to comment on behalf of the school district or about any personnel status issue until he is able to seek legal council from WJSD Board Attorney Rance Ulmer later this week.
Jasper County News also reached out to two West Jasper School District Board members about the situation and current status of McLaurin’s employment with the district. It is understood from those board contacts McLaurin has been suspended with pay until a final outcome is decided in the case.
According to Hennington, BSPD will further investigate the alleged crime, and District Attorney Chris Hennis will determine if the case will be presented to a future Jasper County Grand Jury.
“It’s still under investigation at this point, and we still have a couple of people we have to interview,” Hennington said.