Police: Smyrna student reported missing was having sex with coach

SMYRNA — A 38-year-old Smyrna School District employee was charged with rape Thursday after allegedly having sex with an underage student reported missing by his mother on April 19, police said in an arrest affidavit.

Karen Brooks

Karen L. Brooks, of the 100 block of Persimmon Circle in Dover, was arrested after allegedly admitting to having sexual intercourse with the 17-year-old male twice over spring break between April 14 and April 23 “when her children and husband were in Pennsylvania,” a Smyrna Police detective stated in court documents.

According to police in court papers, Mrs. Brooks met the youth when she coached the Smyrna Middle School track team and he was the manager. She was also listed as a volunteer cross country coach on a district website.

Mrs. Brooks was listed online as an Educational Diagnostician, working in the Special Services department at Smyrna Middle.

On Friday, Superintendent Dr. Deborah Wicks said Mrs. Brooks was placed on paid leave on May 15, which was changed to unpaid administrative leave upon her arrest. Mrs. Brooks’ employment status will be discussed at the next school board meeting on June 21, said Dr. Wicks, who described the matter as a “personnel issue” and declined further comment.

On Feb. 25, 2015, a female ex-Smyrna School District teacher and cross country coach was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after six months, for a fourth-degree rape charge regarding a male student.

In an affidavit, police said the youth was arrested in Mrs. Brooks’ vehicle in Ocean City, Maryland, and a Smyrna School District School Resource Officer was notified on May 12.

When contacted by Ocean City Police, according to documents, the mother expressed concern that “this teacher has been molesting my son.”

The mother told authorities she had not seen her son since April 14, “and she did not give permission for her son to use the suspect’s vehicle, and that the suspect never consulted with her about her son.”

After obtaining a search warrant, papers said, Ocean City Police allegedly found a text message on the minor’s cell phone “depicting an intimate relationship between the suspect and victim.” Smyrna Police received the forensic evidence on Tuesday, according to documents.

A Smyrna detective “analyzed the evidence from the report which showed text messages sent by the suspect to the (alleged) victim that were indicative to an intimate relationship,” the affidavit read.

During a recorded interview Tuesday, according to police, the juvenile allegedly answered “mmhmm” when asked if he had sex with Mrs. Brooks. The youth alleged that four encounters occurred between April 19 and May 7 when he stayed at the woman’s home “because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

The minor alleged that Mrs. Brooks twice performed a sexual act on him during supposed encounters.

On Tuesday, documents said, Mrs. Brooks was interviewed after being read her Miranda rights and allegedly spoke of a relationship with the boy that included two sexual liaisons.

“She advised she never asked for it, that the (alleged) victim would ask her to and ‘I just didn’t say no, and I did whatever I was told,’” the detective reported in papers.

Also, Mrs. Brooks said the youth “was sitting on the corner of her bed, and he asked her to have sex, so she did,” according to papers.

Mrs. Brooks was charged with two counts of fourth-degree rape due to a 20-year age gap and an alleged victim under 18. She was processed through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and issued a $40,000 secured bond that reportedly cleared on Thursday. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 16 at 8:30 a.m.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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