Cherokee Teacher Arrested for Sexually Exploiting Student

A Cherokee High School teacher has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.

46-year-old Joseph Vannatta of Cherokee was arrested Tuesday on a charge of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, a class D felony.

According to court documents, a Cherokee High School student filed a complaint against Vannatta in April of last year. Authorities say the student believed they were being groomed by Vannatta to have a relationship with him. After interviewing the student, investigators determined Vannatta had engaged in a scheme to “insert himself into the student’s sexual life.” Vannatta allegedly had counseling sessions with the student, sent Snapchats to the student on a regular basis, and talked to the student about sexually explicit topics. At one point, Vannatta allegedly provided his home to the student and the person the student was dating. Court documents don’t say if Vannatta and the student had any physical contact.

Vannatta reportedly waived his right to an attorney after being booked in the Cherokee County Jail. He faces up to five years in prison.

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