COVINGTON, TN (abc24.com) - A Tipton County middle school teacher was arraigned Thursday, November 10, 2011, where she was read a 53 count indictment that includes 25 counts of statutory rape.
Seven teens, ages 14-16, say they were raped by Crestview Middle School reading teacher, Cindy Clifton.
Clifton walked into court, calm and collected, with her husband by her side. After hearing the shocking charges leveled against her, she walked out of court the same way, refusing to answer all media questions.
More than 90 people were in court, and when the charges against Clifton were read, it caught everyone's attention. 53 counts in total, all against minors, 28 charges involving alcohol, the other 25 for rape.
Tipton County District Attorney Mike Dunavant says, "She had a formal reading of the charges against her and she got a copy of the indictment. That's essentially what happened. The court also inquired about whom would be her attorney."
That answer is Blake Ballin, from the well known Ballin law firm. He says his client didn't do what she's accused of doing.
"She's crushed," Ballin tells abc24.com. "She's been emotional. This has been hard on her, hard on her family. She's been an educator for 20 years. She has her master's degree. She's a family oriented person, involved in church. This is at odds with her character."
The details aren't specific. The victim's are 10 boys and one girl, but the sex crimes are only against the boys. One 14-year-old boy cited statutory rape by an authority figure 12 times between April and May.
Attorney Dunavant says, "Those are significant and serious sex offense felonies for which there should be justice, and we will pursue that justice and prosecute this like any other serious sex offense felony case."
Clifton is out of jail on a $40,000 bond. Her next court date is March 1, 2012.