WICHITA, Kansas – A Wichita teacher is out of jail on bail following his arrest for suspicion of child sex crimes.
Mayberry Middle School P.E. teacher Terry Lee Couch, 55, was released on bond Friday afternoon, but his legal problems are just beginning.
Couch was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail shortly before midnight Wednesday on two counts of suspicion of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
KSN has learned the allegations against him were made by a student, and those accusations have surprised many parents.
“I was shocked, I had met him at fall conferences,” said parent Jennifer Santiallan. “…very involved teacher with the students, very invested with the students.”
Another parent, Ernesto Castorena also was shocked.
“I talked to him all the time. I think he was a good teacher, so I’m pretty shocked,” said Castroena.
Police records released Friday indicate that a student, the alleged victim, was touched inappropriately while at Couch’s apartment. The report does not indicate whether the allegation was made by a current or former student.
“We’re going to try to do our best to protect the victim in this case,”said Wichita Police Dept. Lt. James Espinoza. He said the case will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office for possible charges as early as Monday.
Castorena has a daughter at West High School who participated in cross-country running under Couch’s direction. He says his daughter also is surprised by the news.
“My daughter in high school is in shock, because she knew him pretty well, she liked him,” Castroena said.
Couch has worked for Wichita Public Schools, USD 259, for 33 years.
Parents were notified of his arrest Thursday night through automated phone calls and emails.
Parents also told KSN counseling was made available to students Friday.
KSN was the only station at the Sedgwick County Jail Friday when Couch was released on $75,000 bond.
Initially, Couch did not want to talk to KSN’s Brittany Glas. But eventually he answered the question every parent wanted to ask:
“Any reaction at all?”
As he was walking out of the jail, Couch briefly said, “[I] Have to talk to my attorney, but I am innocent.”
Glas pressed him further.
“Thirty-three years as a P.E. teacher, correct?” she asked.
Couch: “That is, that is correct.”
Glas: “Do you have anything that you would say to parents right now who might e concerned given the news of these allegations?”
Couch: “No comment.”
There are other questions many parents and KSN are asking, such as, does Terry Lee Couch have a record? Does he have any sort of criminal history?
After working for the school district for 33 years, could there potentially be other victims who have yet to come forward?
KSN will continue to investigate and provide answers to those and other questions, when and if possible.
Meanwhile, school district officials say Couch remains on administrative leave. The principal at Mayberry Middle School said Couch will not be returning to the school.
As for Couch, he says he’ll be in court with his attorney on Monday.