From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
CLAY COUNTY — A Randolph County teacher and coach, David Burkhalter, 30, was arrested on charges of rape, sodomy, and a school employee having a sexual relationship with a student, and is now facing charges in Clay County.
Burkhalter now faces a felony count of electronic solicitation of a minor and a felony county of interference with custody in Clay County, according to WBRC.
Officials said that the Wedowee Police Department, along with the assistance of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department, immediately initiated an investigation. Investigators determined the accusations were credible and that probable cause existed for an arrest.
Following the Randolph County arrest, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant on the Ashland home of Burkhalter.
Clay County Sheriff Jim Studdard said as a result of that warrant, they were able to determine the suspect committed crimes in his jurisdiction involving the 15-year old girl, according to a report by Erica Thomas of WBRC. Studdard also said his agency is working with other agencies in surrounding counties and more charges could be filed outside of Randolph and Clay counties.
Earlier warrants were executed by Randolph County, and Burkhalter turned himself in to law enforcement on Wednesday morning. Police reported that Burkhalter is being held in the Randolph County Jail on eight felony counts, including two counts of rape in the second degree, one count of sodomy in the second degree, one count of enticing a child, two counts of electronic solicitation of a child for sex and two counts related to a school employee having a sexual relationship with a student less than 19 years of age.
Burkhalter is currently being held in the Randolph County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond pending further hearing.
Law enforcement said they are working alongside the Office of the District Attorney and the Randolph County School Board to ensure all pertinent steps are taken to ensure a thorough investigation and a successful prosecution of this matter.
Anyone who has any information regarding this investigation is asked to notify their local law enforcement agency. This investigation is open and ongoing. For future updates, please contact the Randolph County District Attorney’s Office.