Former teacher charged with molestation by a person of trust

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TATE COUNTY, Miss. -- A former Mississippi teacher and coach was charged with fondling one of his students, and investigators said he may have abused other kids as well.

The Tate County Sheriff's Office charged George Cook after Southaven Police arrested him at his home in Southaven Wednesday.

Southaven Police spoke to a woman who allegedly told them Cook touched her inappropriately when she was his student at Independence High School.

They arrested him and turned him over to Tate County.

William Walker has lived across the street from Independence High Cchool in Coldwater his whole life.

His sister even used to teach there.

But Thursday was the first time Walker had heard a former teacher there had been charged for fondling a young female student more than seven years ago.

"It's terrible! They need to be put away. In my opinion they need to be put away. It's just bad," he said.

Deputies said Cook taught at Independence High from 2002 to 2008.

In an affidavit, Tate County investigators said Cook fondled the girl, "for the purpose of gratifying his lust or indulging his depraved, licentious sexual desires."

Cook was also being investigated by the Hernando Police Department.

Police there said he admitted to giving his phone number to two 9th grade students while he was the health teacher and baseball coach at Hernando High School.

He just resigned from that job last month.

Sheriff Brad Lance did not know about that investigation until WREG told him.

But it does not end there.

Southaven Police said they were also looking into Cook for alleged incidents involving students, but they would not elaborate.

Sheriff Lance said it's a sad situation, but not necessarily surprising in a case like this.

"Unfortunately, we could potentially have more people coming forward with allegations. We certainly hope that's not the case, but a lot of times it is," he said.

Cook will be in court again June 25.

He is being held in the Tate County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

The District Attorney John Champion, Tate County Sheriff's Office, Southaven Police Department, and possibly the Hernando Police Department will all be meeting to discuss their cases involving Cook Friday morning.

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