Former Polk County teacher found guilty of indecent liberties with a student

Published 11:53 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

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John Brian Taylor of Landrum convicted on Wednesday


POLK COUNTY—On Wednesday, a now-former Polk County High School teacher, John Brian Taylor, 51, of Landrum, was found guilty on charges of taking indecent liberties with a student. 

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Taylor received a suspended sentence of a minimum of six months and a maximum of seventeen months in prison should he violate the terms of probation.

According to a press release from District Attorney Andrew Murray, special terms of probation require Taylor to serve ten days in jail, complete a substance abuse assessment, and not have any contact with the victim. He was also ordered to register as a sexual offender for the next thirty years. 

Judge Clifton Smith presided over the trial, and the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning a guilty verdict.

On November 15, 2022, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to assist in an investigation of an incident that occurred between Taylor and a teenage student at Polk County High School. When they arrived, deputies received information that the student had been inappropriately touched by Taylor and that she ran from him after the incident occurred. Police reviewed the school’s security video monitoring system and confirmed that the victim ran from Taylor’s classroom at the time of the reported assault. 

Taylor was then arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail. While in custody, information was gathered from his jail calls, where he admitted to making inappropriate comments to a student. 

After his arrest, Taylor, who taught business at PCHS, was placed on administrative leave and has since resigned from his position and forfeited his teaching license. 

During the trial, Polk County School System Superintendent Aaron Greene testified that during a conversation he had with Taylor on the date of the incident, Taylor admitted to luring the student to his classroom to be alone with her, turning off the lights, pulling down the door shade and locking the door, and grabbing the victim by the waist with both hands and pulling her into his body. When asked why, Taylor replied he wanted to kiss her. 

During the trial, Taylor took the stand in his own defense and told the jury that he was under the influence of alcohol during the incident and that he was unaware of his actions.

Assistant District Attorney Clifton Neal prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing hearings.