WGNS has more news on the arrest of a Murfreesboro City Schools teacher who has been charged with the solicitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor. Lavar Romania Jernigan, 35, of Christiana, TN was arrested on Thursday by Murfreesboro Police. Robert Rickman has more...
VERBATIM: The arrest is the result of an investigation in Lawrence County, Tennessee where he assisted the Loretto High School Band on a volunteer basis over an extended period of time.
During Jernigan’s stint with Loretto High School, he allegedly pursued a relationship with a minor. The teacher is accused of trying to solicit the girl for sex and sending her sexually explicit messages and photos. Jernigan was released from the Lawrence County Jail shortly after his intake after posting a $20,000 bond.
In Murfreesboro, the case remains under investigation and according to a police report that WGNS read on Thursday, there is a possibility of additional charges being filed in the near future. Jernigan was the band director for Hobgood Elementary, Scales and Cason Lane Academy. His teacher webpage with the City of Murfreesboro has since been taken down.
Past News Release (WGNS):
Murfreesboro Police Detectives assisted the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Thursday morning in apprehending a Murfreesboro City Schools band teacher. We are told that 35 year old Lavar Jernigan who lives in Christiana was arrested shortly after the start of morning classes on Thursday and charged with solicitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Jernigan is a band teacher who assists at Cason Lane Academy, Scales Elementary, and Hobgood School in Murfreesboro. Little information has been released at this point on the actual charges that stem from an investigation in Lawrence County. Detective Tommy Roberts in Murfreesboro wrote in an arrest report, “The investigation will continue in Murfreesboro and more charges are a possibility.”
Detectives made contact with Jernigan on Baird Avenue, which is where Hobgood Elementary School is located. At that site, officers arrested Jernigan on warrants obtained by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office.
Murfreesboro Police Incident Report#13-XXX Not Released
Sgt. Kyle Evans, Sergeant, Public Information Officer with MPD
WDXE. Lawrenceburg, TN
CitySchools.Net (Information on Mr. Jernigan) Note: Page removed by city schools
CHARGES - Solicitation of a Minor:
T.C.A. 39-13-528. Offense of solicitation of a minor.
(a) It is an offense for a person eighteen (18) years of age or older, by means of oral, written or electronic communication, electronic mail or Internet services, directly or through another, to intentionally command, request, hire, persuade, invite or attempt to induce a person whom the person making the solicitation knows, or should know, is less than eighteen (18) years of age, or solicits a law enforcement officer posing as a minor, and whom the person making the solicitation reasonably believes to be less than eighteen (18) years of age, to engage in conduct that, if completed, would constitute a violation by the soliciting adult of one (1) or more of the following offenses:
(1) Rape of a child, pursuant to § 39-13-522;
(2) Aggravated rape, pursuant to § 39-13-502;
(3) Rape, pursuant to § 39-13-503;
(4) Aggravated sexual battery, pursuant to § 39-13-504;
(5) Sexual battery by an authority figure, pursuant to § 39-13-527;
(6) Sexual battery, pursuant to § 39-13-505;
(7) Statutory rape, pursuant to § 39-13-506;
(8) Especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, pursuant to § 39-17-1005; or
(9) Sexual activity involving a minor, pursuant to § 39-13-529.
(b) It is no defense that the solicitation was unsuccessful, that the conduct solicited was not engaged in, or that the law enforcement officer could not engage in the solicited offense. It is no defense that the minor solicited was unaware of the criminal nature of the conduct solicited.
(c) A violation of this section shall constitute an offense one (1) classification lower than the most serious crime solicited, unless the offense solicited was a Class E felony, in which case the offense shall be a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) A person is subject to prosecution in this state under this section for any conduct that originates in this state, or for any conduct that originates by a person located outside this state, where the person solicited the conduct of a minor located in this state, or solicited a law enforcement officer posing as a minor located within this state.
HISTORY: Acts 1998, ch. 1007, § 1; 2000, ch. 944, § 1; 2005, ch. 496, § 5.
T.C.A. 39-13-529. Offense of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor -- Exploitation of a minor by electronic means.
(a) It is an offense for a person eighteen (18) years of age or older, by means of oral, written or electronic communication, electronic mail or Internet service, including webcam communications, directly or through another, to intentionally command, hire, persuade, induce or cause a minor to engage in simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive or in sexual activity, where such simulated sexual activity or sexual activity is observed by that person or by another.
(b) It is unlawful for any person eighteen (18) years of age or older, directly or by means of electronic communication, electronic mail or Internet service, including webcam communications, to intentionally:
(1) Engage in simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive or in sexual activity for the purpose of having the minor view the simulated sexual activity or sexual activity, including circumstances where the minor is in the presence of the person, or where the minor views such activity via electronic communication, including electronic mail, Internet service and webcam communications;
(2) Display to a minor, or expose a minor to, any material containing simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive or sexual activity if the purpose of the display can reasonably be construed as being for the sexual arousal or gratification of the minor or the person displaying the material; or
(3) Display to a law enforcement officer posing as a minor, and whom the person making the display reasonably believes to be less than eighteen (18) years of age, any material containing simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive or sexual activity, if the purpose of the display can reasonably be construed as being for the sexual arousal or gratification of the intended minor or the person displaying the material.
(c) The statute of limitations for the offenses in this section shall be the applicable statute for the class of the offense, or until the child reaches the age of eighteen (18), whichever is greater.
(d) A person is subject to prosecution in this state under this statute for any conduct that originates in this state, or for any conduct that originates by a person located outside this state, where the conduct involved a minor located in this state or the solicitation of a law enforcement officer posing as a minor located in this state.
(e) As used in this section:
(1) "Community" means the judicial district, as defined by § 16-2-506, in which a violation is alleged to have occurred;
(2) "Material" means:
(A) Any picture, drawing, photograph, undeveloped film or film negative, motion picture film, videocassette tape or other pictorial representation;
(B) Any statue, figure, theatrical production or electrical reproduction;
(C) Any image stored on a computer hard drive, a computer disk of any type, or any other medium designed to store information for later retrieval; or
(D) Any image transmitted to a computer or other electronic media or video screen, by telephone line, cable, satellite transmission, or other method that is capable of further transmission, manipulation, storage or accessing, even if not stored or saved at the time of transmission;
(3) "Patently offensive" means that which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in describing or representing such matters; and
(4) "Sexual activity" means any of the following acts:
(A) Vaginal, anal or oral intercourse, whether done with another person or an animal;
(B) Masturbation, whether done alone or with another human or an animal;
(C) Patently offensive, as determined by contemporary community standards, physical contact with or touching of a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or breasts in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or sexual abuse;
(D) Sadomasochistic abuse, including flagellation, torture, physical restraint, domination or subordination by or upon a person for the purpose of sexual gratification of any person;
(E) The insertion of any part of a person's body or of any object into another person's anus or vagina, except when done as part of a recognized medical procedure by a licensed professional;
(F) Patently offensive, as determined by contemporary community standards, conduct, representations, depictions or descriptions of excretory functions; or
(G) Lascivious exhibition of the female breast or the genitals, buttocks, anus or pubic or rectal area of any person.
(f) (1) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class B felony.
(2) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class E felony; provided, that, if the minor is less than thirteen (13) years of age, the violation is a Class C felony.
HISTORY: Acts 2005, ch. 496, § 6; 2011, ch. 393, § 1; 2012, ch. 732, §§ 1, 2; 2012, ch. 876, § 1.