A Sperreng Middle School teacher has been arrested
in St. Louis County in Missouri for having oral sex with a female student 17 years ago.
The allegations against James Bliss Wilder III, 47, who also is the Lindberg High School cross country coach, have no connection with a current student at the middle or high school, authorities told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri's statute of limitations for a sexual crime against victims age 18 and younger is 30 years, according to the Post-Dispatch. The victim told authorities her contact with Wilder began when she was 16.
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Authorities arrested Wilder at the middle school on Tuesday. He was charged Wednesday with six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy for crimes that prosecutors believe took place from August 1996 through the teen's birthday in 1997.
Wilder was being held in the St. Louis County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash-only bail. He has been placed on paid administrative leave since the arrest, according to school officials.
reported that the victim reached out to authorities over the summer, telling them she had an "ongoing sexual relationship" with Wilder when she was a high school student and he was the track and field coach there.
spoke with a woman who claimed to be Wilder's alleged victim and she said the relationship with Wilder continued for 15 years through her marriage. The victim said she decided to come forward to protect other potential victims.
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Wilder faced similar allegations with another female student in 2008, according to UPI.com. Police at the time determined that there was no "credible evidence" indicating wrongdoing.
Wilder was hired at Sperreng in 1993, where he had taught math and health in the past.
"We are troubled and disturbed when we receive allegations such as this," said Beth Johnston, director of community relations for the Lindbergh School District. "We want our parents to know we’ll do whatever we can to cooperate with police."
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