RIVERTON, Utah, Dec. 5, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A longtime teacher at Riverton’s South Hills Middle School is being held without bail after being charged on suspicion of two counts of kidnapping involving a 14-year-old female student.
Lucas Sloan Talley, 38, faces two second-degree felony charges. According to a statement from Riverton police, he had taught at South Hills for about 12 years, ending a week ago. He reportedly taught science.
“Over Thanksgiving weekend 2020, Riverton Police Detectives received a report of a middle school teacher having inappropriate conversations and relations with multiple fourteen (14) year old students,” the statement says. “Lucas has had personal contact via text message and email with multiple young girls. Much of this contact has been of a personal nature and not school related.”
The charges stem from an “emotional relationship with a 14-year-old student during the 2019-2020 school year,” the probable cause statement says. “This relationship began to evolve from student/teacher/mentor to emotional in April 2020.
“Lucas began talking to the young female about his marriage, as well as his anxiety and depression. Lucas began taking treats to the young female’s home and spending time (hours) inside the girl’s home with her. During this time, physical hugs were given from Lucas to the young girl.”
Talley allegedly met the juvenile twice in April, while the school was closed for the pandemic, the statement says. At that time, no students were allowed in the school building.
“Due to this, when the female victim arrived at the school, Lucas told the girl to get into a large black and yellow Sterilite bin. Lucas placed the Sterilite bin (with the female victim inside of the bin) on a dolly device and wheeled the girl into his classroom. Lucas told detectives he put the female victim in the bin because he knew she was not supposed to be at the school.”
Once in the school, “Lucas wheeled the bin and female victim into his classroom where he shut and locked his classroom door,” the statement says. He did this on two occasions, reportedly to avoid detection by adult staff members.
“Lucas said he was the one who made this plan without the female victim’s knowledge. Lucas admitted to detectives he named the bin after the young girl he placed inside. Lucas also had placed a label inside of the bin which stated ‘hope your box is comfortable.'”
Investigating detectives determined “… the female victim had been physically touched inappropriately multiple times by Lucas. Lucas has touched her inner thigh and rubbing her leg. The female victim was scared something sexual was about to happen and felt uncomfortable and did not want to be in this setting with Lucas.”
Talley told detectives the girl’s parents were unaware of the meetings, as was everyone else.
“Lucas told detectives he does not feel a girl at the age of 14 is able to consent or even choose to be put into a bin and wheeled into his classroom. Lucas stated he had thought of being with this female victim as a couple, but knew he would have to wait six to seven years before he could get to this point. Lucas told detectives he had a love for this specific young girl.”
Multiple emails, text messages and video messages were obtained which show Lucas telling the female victim he loves her and misses her, the statement said.
During the investigation and interview with Talley, the statement said, he told of multiple students and past students he has taught, with whom he has attempted contact.
“Lucas stated he has anxiety and panic attacks, so he has reached out to multiple young girls to see if they can talk to him and help him through his anxiety attacks. Lucas stated he talks to young girls who he knows have issues with anxiety, depression or other forms of struggles.
“Lucas told detectives he has realized he needs the validation from these female students for his ego and thrives on it. Lucas said when the school shut down due to the pandemic, he really struggled with not having this validation, so began talking with this female victim daily Monday through Friday …. Lucas said he knew he was overstepping his teacher role but his interactions with the female victim were a type of therapy for him.”
Police said that in June of 2020, Talley was asked by the girl’s parents to break off communications with the girl, but he did not.
“Lucas told detectives he has had other parents reach out to him and tell him to stop talking to their young daughters.”
Riverton police are searching for additional cases in which Talley may have behaved inappropriately with juvenile girls, the statement says.