Wife of ex-high school football coach had sex with player on team, officials say

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The wife of a former assistant high school football coach was arrested and accused of having sex with a high school football player.

South Doyle High School. WATE photo
South Doyle High School. WATE photo

Kelsey McCarter, 26, who is married to the coach from South Doyle High is charged with six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and one count of exploitation of a minor by electronic means. The teen listed as the victim in the indictment is also listed on the South Doyle football team roster.

Principal Tim Berry and Assistant Principal Clark Duncan are on administrative leave with pay.

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen says the charges follow an extensive investigation and collaborative effort between several agencies.

Kelsey McCarter, age 26, in a photo from WATE-TV
Kelsey McCarter, age 26, in a photo from WATE-TV

The grand jury presentment states that the six alleged incidents of sexual activity occurred between February 1, 2015, and October 30, 2015 ,and that that the electronic communication involving sexual images occurred between October 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015. The victim named is the same as a football player listed on the team’s roster.

In a parallel investigation, Allen says her office reviewed the actions of Principal Tim Berry, Assistant Principal Clark Duncan and McCarter’s husband, assistant football coach Justin McCarter, focusing on their conduct in the allegations against Kelsey McCarter and whether they immediately reported child sexual abuse to DCS or law enforcement, as required by law. Allen says she is not pursuing criminal charges against the three.

Knox County Schools said Berry and Duncan will remain on administrative leave with pay, however their status is under review. They were placed on leave in February due to an investigation into allegations of “failure to perform essential responsibilities and duties” associated with their positions.

Duncan also serves as athletic director and head football coach. Justin McCarter served as freshman offensive coordinator and is married to Kelsey McCarter, according to the football team’s website. He stepped down in February.

“I anticipate Clark Duncan resuming his prior duties and I am very pleased the investigation is over and it ended the way I believed that it would,” said his attorney Jeff Hagood.

Residents have been weighing in on the arrest. Katie Hall graduated from South Doyle High School in 2011. She was upset to learn a coach’s wife was arrested and accused of raping a student.

“It’s very sad especially thinking about I have a four year old daughter so thinking about in her generation when she starts high school. Are your kids going to be safe in school?” said Hall.

Kelsey McCater was taken into custody around 3 p.m. Thursday. She was released on $30,000 bond and will have an arraignment in the coming days. Neither of the McCarters wished to comment on the case. According to the DA’s office each statutory rape charge carries a sentence of three to six years behind bars.

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