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Thursday, August 21, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Christian School educator charged with statutory rape

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga -- Her job was to teach children the Christian way of life. Now she is charged with what her church might consider the ultimate sin. Twenty-four year old Holly Barnes, a teacher at Grace Baptist Church Christian School in Powder Springs, is accused of having sex with a child.

The Paulding County Sheriff Office is investigating the charges against Barnes. Investigators say they are concerned there may be more victims. The arrest of a teacher came as a shock to members of the church who picked up their kids from school Wednesday afternoon.

"Anytime anything like that happens it always concerns you," said David Collins who was picking up his grandchild.

A woman who said her name was "Miss Birdsong' said "As a Christian, we need to just pray for her and that's what I'll do."

Barnes was charged Tuesday with two counts of statutory rape and two counts of child molestation for having sex with a 14-year old boy. Paulding County investigators are saying very little about the investigation because of its delicate nature. They did say that both the suspect Holly Barnes, and the victim, the 14-year-old boy, were affiliated with the church and school. Barnes is a teacher.

"I don't have the details as far as if it was a teacher-student relationship or anything like that," said Paulding County Sheriff Corporal Brandon Gurley.

Barnes is charged with having sex with the boy on two separate occasions in Paulding County. The church is in Cobb County near the Paulding County line. Corporal Gurley said the sexual acts took place in Paulding County, not at the church. Because of her position with the church they are concerned.

"Anytime we have an individual that is in contact with children and they are accused of having inappropriate contact or relations with children that automatically throws up a red flag," said Corporal Gurley.

Barnes is being held on $11,000 bond in the Paulding County jail. She was terminated from her teaching job at the church. Grace Baptist Church referred questions about Barne's role at the church to their Pastor Dr. Ken Martin. He has not answered repeated attempts to contact him.