A married 23-year-old North Carolina teacher has been arrested after police say she “engaged in a relationship with a 17-year-old student,” including on school grounds.
Katherine Ross Ridenhour, of Concord, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student, the Concord Police Department said in a press release. Ridenhour was a teacher at Cox Mill High School in the Cabarrus County school district, according to police. She has resigned from her position at the school, the district said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ridenhour Was Arrested After an Investigation Into a ‘Potential Inappropriate Consensual Relationship,’ Police Say
Katherine Ridenhour was arrested Wednesday morning by the Concord Police Department on two counts of indecent liberties with a student, the department said in a press release. She was taken before a Cabarrus County magistrate where she was released on a written promise to appear in court, police said.
Concord Police said the investigation began Monday, November 13, when the department was “notified of a potential inappropriate consensual relationship between a student and teacher at Cox Mill High School.” According to police, “further investigation corroborated the allegations that a 23-year-old female teacher was engaged in a relationship with a 17-year-old male student.”
The school district said Ridenhour has resigned from her position at the high school. Further details about the case were not released by police.
2. She Had Been a Teacher at Cox Mill High School for 2 Years & Was Also a JV Cheerleading Coach There
Katherine Ridenhour was in her second year working at Cox Mill High School as a foods teacher, according to a now-deleted bio on the school’s website.
“Ms. Ridenhour resigned from Cabarrus County Schools, effective Nov. 14, 2017,” spokesperson Ronnye Boone told the Independent Tribune. “She began working for the district in August 2016 as a family and consumer science teacher at Cox Mill High School.”
Boone said state law prohibits the school district from providing further details about the case.
Ridenhour was also the coach of Cox Mill’s junior varsity cheerleading team.
“I am extremely excited to start my second year at Cox Mill High School as one of the Foods teachers as well as the JV cheerleading coach and one of our competition cheerleading coaches!” she wrote on the school’s website. “When I am not teaching or coaching I love to spend my time outside with my German Shepard, Samantha.”
Before becoming a teacher in North Carolina, she completed a practicum at Liberty Christian Academy in Virginia.
“During my time at Liberty Christian Academy I completed two separate practicums. My first practicum was with a 7th grade mathematics class and lasted from January through May of 2015. During my time with this class I was able to grade assignments and quizzes, sit in on 20 hours of instruction, and teach two lessons. In this particular class I was also able to work with several English language learning students, which helped me to grow as a student teacher because it presented new challenges in my lesson planning,” she wrote on her Linkedin profile. “My second practicum was with the high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. During this practicum I was able to observe ten hours of sewing, culinary and interior design classes. I also was able to teach an interior design lesson which challenged the students to create their own floor plans while taking into consideration space saving ideas and multipurpose furniture.”
3. Ridenhour, a Virginia Native, Graduated From Liberty University in 2016
Katie Ridenhour, whose maiden name is Katherine Ross Barber, is a native of Brosville, Virginia, according to her Facebook page. She graduated from Westover Christian Academy in Danville in 2012, where she was the captain of the cheerleading team.
Her father, Tim Barber, is a local politician, serving on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, including as chairman. Tim Barber and Katie’s mother, Kim, have run Barber Automotive Center in Brosville for more than 20 years. Katie Ridenhour grew up on a 90-acre farm where the family raised horses, cattle, goats and sheep, according to an article about her father.
After high school, Ridenhour attended Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell.
Ridenhour graduated in 2016 with a degree in family and consumer sciences, according to her biography on the school district’s website. She also completed a minor in psychology.
Before becoming a teacher, Ridenhour worked for five years at the frozen yogurt store Sweet Frog in Danville, including as a shift lead, according to her Linkedin profile. She was also a call center agent at Liberty University and worked as part of the barn staff at the Averett University Equestrian Center from 2013 to 2014.
While at Liberty, she was a prayer and life group leader and was involved in missionary work, taking trips to Uganda and Nicaragua.
She was also a blogger and public speaker for The ROSE Initiative, which she described on Linkedin as, “A pro-life nonprofit organization started by several Liberty University Alumni that traveled and spoke at various churches and schools regarding the pro-life movement. ROSE also sponsored teenage mothers in both the Liberty Godparent Home and around the world in Uganda, Africa.”
4. She Married Her Husband, Whom She Met at Liberty, in August 2015
Katie Ridenhour married her husband, Tyler, in August 2015, according to her Facebook page. They met while they were both studying at Liberty University.
“After being married for a year we decided to make the move to North Carolina to start our careers,” Ridenhour wrote on the Cox Mill High School’s website.
“Happy birthday to my amazingly sweet and precious wife Katie Ross Ridenhour! You are amazing and I hope you have the most wonderful 21st birthday! We’re going to party like its 2015 because that’s what year it is? love you buddy!! Can’t wait to see where this life takes you?,” Tyler Ridenhour wrote on his Facebook page just days after their August 1 marriage.
They were engaged in November 2014, with the then-Katie Ross Barber writing on Facebook, “The road to Ridenhour starts here,” along with a photo showing her ring on the Liberty campus. Katie Ridenhour wrote on her Facebook page, “You’re my favorite,” alongside an engagement photo in April 2015.
5. Ridenhour Faces Up to 2 Years in Prison on the Felony Charges
Ridenhour was charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a student, a North Carolina law that is a class 1 felony. She faces between 3 to 12 months in prison on each charge if convicted, according to state law.
“An offender is guilty of this crime when the offender, who is a teacher, school administrator, student teacher, school safety officer, or coach, at any age, or who is other school personnel and is at least four years older than the victim, takes indecent liberties with a victim who is a student, unless the person is lawfully married to the student,” the state law says.
It is not clear when her next court appearance is set for. It is not known if she has hired an attorney and she could not be reached for comment by Heavy.
Another North Carolina teacher, Erin McAuliffe, was arrested in June on similar charges after she was accused of sexually assaulting two male students at Rocky Mount Prep. You can read more about her case at the link below: