Region 8 Teacher Accused of Sex & Drinking with Minors Taught Against Dangers of Drinking - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Region 8 Teacher Accused of Sex & Drinking with Minors Taught Against Dangers of Drinking

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August 16, 2007 - Posted at 10:45 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR - K8 News has learned more about Monica Cluck... she's the former Greene County kindergarten and Sunday school teacher now facing two counts of sexual assault for having sex with minors.  The boys were members of her church choir group.  But that's not the only ironic twist in this story. 

After digging around in her past... K8 News found out that the teacher accused of drinking and having sex with underage boys, actually spent time teaching the dangers of drinking.

Reporter Heather Flanigan tried contacting Monica Cluck's family, but they weren't interested in talking.

Her mother, Dorothy "Dot" Newsom, is the leader of the Paragould TONE organization which stands for Teens of Northeast Arkansas, a group against drugs and alcohol.  Cluck has reportedly substitute taught the local TAC program.

But if you take a look at a survey posted on her My Space page, you'll notice the 25-year-old chooses being drunk over being high when asked to decide.  She also answers "ummmm" when prompted for a choice between beer, vodka or wine, and quotes her darkest secret as something "not to be told on here..."

Cluck's attorney Randel Miller says her alleged actions have nothing to do with her position as an educator.

"What happened here had nothing to do with her teaching position and I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that she was a professional," said Miller, "In fact I really think there's going to be a substantial legal issue whether or not she even fits within the statute on dealing with a professional in a position of trust. I don't think any of the allegations have anything to do with her position and even if they were true, I don't think they can show in any way that she used that position to cause a sex act to occur."

"I think she's a good person, sometimes we make bad choices," said parent Angel Spurlock.

Spurlock says her son started Woodrow Wilson Elementary school the same year Cluck started teaching in Paragould.

"I was shocked, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to think and I couldn't believe that it was her. I was like, whoa, you know.  It was really hard to believe that anything like this could happen.  But you know sometimes it does happen and it hits home," said Spurlock.

Cluck faces felony charges that carry 6-30 years if convicted.  Prosecutor Brent Davis says a trial could be at least four to six months away.     

"She now faces two counts of sexual assault in the first degree. The same charges as the first count, basically that they engaged in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 and she is a person who is a truster and authority over the individual," said Davis.  

Cluck's attorney says divorce proceedings have not been filed, but expects it to be in the works.  It was Cluck's husband who reportedly gave the videotape to authorities that showed his wife having sex with a minor.

"As I understand it, he made the tape. I think the interesting question is going to be whether he made the tape on his own or made it at the direction of the Sheriff's Department. If he made it at the direction of the Sheriff's Department, there may be a question of legal issue on whether that tape is admissible," said Miller.

"I just think that she is a really good person, she's never done anything out of the way, she's always been nice, polite and I think she's a good person.  Just sometimes we do things a lot that we regret and we wish we could take back," said Spurlock.  

Cluck's next court appearance will be September 28th in district court in Greene County.

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