Teacher indicted on charge of stealing pills

John Thompson • May 7, 2014 at 9:01 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A Carter County grand jury indicted a suspended Hampton Elementary School teacher on two theft charges Monday.

Leon Tolley turned himself in to sheriff’s department officials Wednesday morning on a criminal summons. He was indicted on two counts of theft under $500.

Tolley’s indictment comes just a month after an earlier grand jury had found a no true bill — not finding enough evidence to indict — on the charges.

Capt. Rocky Croy of the sheriff’s department said a grand jury meeting in April was not able to view a surveillance video. Croy said the video showed Tolley going to the desk of fellow teacher Angie Smith on Dec. 11 when she was not in her room. Croy said the video shows Tolley looking under her purse and picking up a medicine bottle containing Lortabs, a narcotic painkiller. Croy said it appears Tolley took a few of the Lortabs out.

Croy said a second surveillance video Dec. 17 shows Tolley once again going to Smith’s desk and once again taking pills from the bottle. Croy said this time it appears Tolley took all the pills and replaced them with an over-the-counter sinus medicine.

Croy said the school resource officer reported the matter to investigators and to Carter County Schools Secondary Supervisor Danny McClain.

After the sheriff’s department’s investigation began, Croy met with school officials, leading to Tolley’s suspension in December. At the time, Tolley was also serving as coach of the Hampton High School girls basketball team. He was also relieved of his coaching duties.

Croy said Tolley said that during the Dec. 11 visit to Smith’s desk, he put back all the pills in the medicine bottle. Croy said as a result, the first grand jury wanted to return a no true bill on that charge, but instead returned a no true bill on both counts.

Tolley will answer the charges during the next session of Criminal Court.

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