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Ankeny teacher, softball coach arrested for sex abuse involving former student

<i>Ankeny police via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Rachel Whiteside
Lawrence, Nakia
Ankeny police via CNN Newsource
Rachel Whiteside

By Beau Bowman

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    ANKENY, Iowa (KCCI) — An Ankeny teacher was booked Wednesday into Polk County Jail after being accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student.

Rachel Whiteside, 34, of Ankeny, is facing several charges stemming from alleged exploitation of a student.

Whiteside, a teacher and coach in the Ankeny Community School District, engaged in sexual conduct with a student in the district between 2015-18, according to Ankeny police. The victim recently reported the relationship to the district, leading to a police investigation.

“Rachel Whiteside kissed me when I was 14 years old as well as initiated sexual intercourse with me as a minor on many occasions,” the victim alleges in court documents. “These instances occurred in her classroom at Northview Middle School after school hours as well as outside of the school in parking lots in her car…Rachel Whiteside groomed me and abused me. It wasn’t until just before I turned 23 that I broke ties with her.”

A search warrant application filed by Ankeny Police says Whiteside was placed on administrative leave once the district received the complaint. It says During a search of her classroom, school district investigators found several pictures of the victim and a letter the victim wrote to Whiteside years ago.

School investigators also searched Whiteside’s school laptop and found “too many to count” emails between the victim and Whiteside, including one titled “Happy Anniversary.”

The search Warrant application says six school staff members were interviewed, and one of them told investigators they remembered the victim and another student being in Whiteside’s middle school classroom “a lot after school hours.”

Whiteside is charged with third-degree sexual abuse, four counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee, and lascivious conduct with a minor. The charges of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are felonies.

Whiteside was listed on the Ankeny Community School District website as a staff member at Northview Middle School and an assistant varsity softball coach at Ankeny Centennial High School. She was removed from the district’s online directory after her arrest Wednesday morning and was no longer listed on the Ankeny Centennial softball coaching staff.

“In this case, as is the district’s standard practice, when an allegation of this type is made, the staff member was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation,” a statement from the district read. “Information gathered during the district’s investigation caused the district to contact the Ankeny Police Department for a possible criminal investigation.”

The district refused to answer any of KCCI’s follow-up questions.

Whiteside is being held at the Polk County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

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