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Saluda teacher charged with sexual assault of student

Oct 8, 2010 12:58:00 PM - thestate.com
Authorities have filed sexual charges against a longtime Saluda middle school teacher and are questioning a young man who might be a second victim, Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth said today.

Thomas Joel Taylor, 52, is charged with second-degree sexual assault and committing a lewd act on a child, but Booth would not release any specifics about the offenses.

Saluda deputies began investigating Taylor recently after arresting the first victim – now an adult – on unrelated charges. The man told deputies that Taylor began a sexual relationship with him years ago, when he was 13 years old.

That led deputies to Taylor’s home, where Booth said they found hundreds of photos of local boys that he called “disturbing.” The sheriff said the images date as far back as the 1980s and are of boys’ clothed front and backsides. Booth would not explain how that might be illegal. Booth also said deputies found instructional sex tapes on how to whip young boys.

Taylor has taught English at Saluda Middle School for 10 years. Before that, he taught at Riverside Middle School. School district officials said Taylor is on leave.

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