Crime & Courts

Former Maize teacher acknowledges having sex with student, affidavit says

A former Maize teacher and law enforcement officer accused of carrying on an intimate relationship with a student had sex with the girl at school, according to an affidavit released Wednesday by Sedgwick County District Court.

When 44-year-old Johnny P. Yelverton was interviewed by a Wichita Police Department detective after his May 7 arrest, he acknowledged that the 17-year-old was in some of his classes at the Maize Career Academy and that he started a romantic involvement with her in late March, the affidavit says. It goes on to say that he and the girl “spent time together during class breaks and lunch time.”

One Saturday the girl was the only student who showed up at the school for an extra-curricular activity and Yelverton took her “into a back room off of his class room” and had sex with her, according to the document.

Over the next few weeks, Yelverton had sex with the girl in other locations, the affidavit says.

Yelverton’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the affidavit Wednesday evening.

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The girl’s mother and stepfather noticed that she was acting strangely when she went to meet Yelverton at the Dillons store at 3932 W. 13th St. on May 6 and decided to track her whereabouts using a GPS tracking application on her phone, the affidavit says.

Her stepfather found Yelverton and the girl driving in her car near 21st and Woodlawn that day, “cut them off” with a vehicle and took the girl home, where she admitted to the relationship with her teacher.

The girl told law enforcement that her involvement with Yelverton “began by talking through SnapChat and We Chat phone applications as well as spending time together outside of school,” according to the affidavit.

Yelverton was arrested May 7 as he was leaving his home. The detective who wrote the affidavit, Crystal Schell, said in it that Yelverton told her “he knows that he was not supposed to have a relationship with” the girl because he is her teacher and that “he thought he should have waited until school was out.”

He gave the police permission to search a bag that he kept in his classroom, which had a handwritten love note from the girl, and his phone, which had several photos of the girl. At least two were explicit, the affidavit says.

Yelverton is charged with six counts of unlawful sexual relations between a teacher and a student 16 or older and with one count of sexual exploitation of a child. He taught fire science and law and public safety courses to Maize High School and Maize South High School students at the Maize Career Academy, which offers college and career readiness programs.

He resigned May 11, Maize public schools spokeswoman Lori O’Toole Buselt said.

He is due in court for a preliminary hearing on June 19.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker