On March 3, Detectives in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services were notified of an allegation of inappropriate behavior from a teacher at Wallace A. Smith Elementary School. The teacher was identified as Duane Sanders, a first-grade teacher at the school.
During the course of the investigation, several children were identified as potential victims.
HCSO detectives have been working with the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office and on March 20, a Hamilton County Grand Jury handed down a multiple count indictment for Duane Sanders.
“The HCSO takes all allegations of criminal activity seriously, especially when it pertains to our community’s children. In matters involving children and suspected child sexual abuse, we will thoroughly and meticulously investigate every allegation and lead to ensure our community’s youth are protected and those who harm them are held accountable,” stated Sheriff Austin Garrett.
Sanders has been taken into custody by HCSO Investigative Services and Fugitive Unit personnel and is awaiting booking at the Hamilton County Jail and Detention Center.
“Our main concern is protecting children and ensuring justice for any child victim, both involved in this investigation or any other. My office will continue to work with law enforcement, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Department of Children’s Services to identify and support the children in this community,” stated District Attorney Coty Wamp.
This is currently an ongoing investigation, and it is possible there could be more child victims who have yet to be discovered. If anyone has any information regarding this investigation or if they know of a child who may have been a victim, please contact Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office at 423-622-0022.
Based on the confidential nature of this case, the indictment has been filed with the Criminal Court Clerk under seal. There will be no further comments made by the HCSO or the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office.