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Personnel file shows troubled teacher’s past pattern of behavior

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 8:28 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are new reports and details about a Burke County teacher arrested on suspicion of sexual battery.

We’ve uncovered records showing he admitted to similar behavior while working as a teacher in Columbia County.

We requested Scott Hooker’s personnel file from the Columbia County School System.

In that file are multiple documents showing inappropriate behavior with female students — and concerns from the superintendent and his principal at Evans High School.

EARLIER COVERAGE:

The file show Hooker was employed by several schools in Columbia and Richmond counties.

Evans High School is where we know patterns of allegations began for Hooker.

A letter from the Evans High School principal on Aug. 13, 2015, says Hooker was involved in an incident where a student referred to him as “Daddy.” Hooker received a written note of concern and was strongly advised to refrain from unprofessional behavior.

Two years later on Feb. 14, 2017, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports show deputies responded to Evans High School in reference to a sexual assault with a female student. That was Madison Cooksey, who told her story to News 12 last Friday.

On Feb. 15, 2017, the Evans High principal sent a letter to Hooker after the school received a complaint from a student. That student accused Hooker of side-hugging a student, moving his hand down her back and touching the lower back and butt area. That lines up with the allegations Cooksey told us last week.

READ PERSONNEL LETTERS:

The principal wrote that the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was investigating and that Hooker admitted to the school about giving the student a side-hug or patting the back while sitting down in his chair.

The principal recommended a formal letter of reprimand be placed in Hooker’s personnel file and that other disciplinary action may be taken by the superintendent.

The letter states that if an incident or allegation was deemed unprofessional or if the code of ethics was violated, Hooker may be fired.

Eight days later, Carraway sent her response to the incident to Hooker. She stated another report was made by an employee of the school that required involvement of the sheriff’s office. This allegation involved another female student.

The superintendent called Hooker’'s interactions with female students worrisome and said he could not be alone with or have physical contact with a female student beyond his duties.

Two months later, incident reports from the sheriff’s office shows deputies were called to Evans High School again. Cooksey told deputies Hooker would often cross paths with her and stand next to her while staring at her. Cooksey’s mom says Hooker was not allowed to talk to her or be near her.

Cooksey later transferred and Hooker continued to teach at Evans High School.

He would send in a resignation letter at the end of the year, having accepted an administrator role at the Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics in Richmond County for a little over a year before going to Burke County, where he would later be arrested.

Cooksey’s case was sent before a grand jury by the sheriff’s office because it felt there wasn’t enough evidence and there were no witnesses.

The grand jury “no billed” the case, meaning grand jurors did not have enough evidence to indict Hooker, even though in those letters he admitted to touching a student.

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