MUSTANG, Okla. (KFOR) – A former Mustang High teacher and National Honor Society advisor accused of raping a then-student has been approved for retirement amid a criminal investigation.
60-year-old Raymond Thomas Garner was arrested on February 1 on several counts of rape and lewd acts with a child.
Garner had been an employee of Mustang Public Schools since August 1990, according to his LinkedIn.
“We are shocked and saddened and outraged at the allegations levied against one of our long time employees today,” said Mustang Public Schools Superintendent, Charles Bradley during a press conference on Feb. 1.
Court records show Mustang Police started their investigation into Garner on January 27 after allegations of an “unwanted sexual relationship” between him and a student from 2014-2017 was brought to their attention.
The victim told officials Garner was her chemistry teacher her sophomore year of high school (2014-2015 school year).
The victim said sexual acts between the pair would occur both on Mustang High School’s property and at Garner’s home in Yukon.
The sexual acts described in court documents are too graphic for News 4 to share.
She did provide authorities with handwritten notes from Garner calling her his “princess” and “my flower.”
The notes also consisted of messages such as “who loves you” and ” you please me.”
The victim claims Garner used his position of power to change her grades.
“The victim also said Garner would repeatedly threaten her with comments to the effect of, if she told anyone, [the victim] would be known as the one who ruined his life, her parents would be ashamed, and her classmates would hate her. The victim said she felt like could not say no to his sexual requests,” court documents reveal.
During the Feb. 1 joint press conference held by Mustang Police, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and Mustang Public Schools, Supt. Bradley said Garner had been suspended as it was an active investigation.
“At no time after February 1 did Mr. Garner enter an MPS classroom,” said MPS Director of Communications, Kirk Wilson in a statement Thursday morning.
Wilson shared with KFOR that Garner did apply for retirement on April 25.
Garner’s retirement was approved during the district’s Board of Education meeting on May 8.
“There was no legal basis for action on his employment prior to his retirement request/approval,” stated Wilson.
The Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System also signed off on Garner’s retirement.
Because Garner met the ‘Rule of 80,’ he was eligible for retirement.
The ‘Rule of 80’ states an educator’s age and the number of years worked must equal 80.
Garner is 60 years old and worked at least 33 years with the Mustang school district.
Despite the then-pending criminal investigation, the Teachers’ Retirement System told KFOR a school district cannot deny retirements.
As of June 1, Garner could begin collecting his retirement benefits.
However, under current state law regarding ‘Forfeiture of Benefits for Felony Conviction,’ if Garner is convicted of a felony his benefits will be forfeited.
Garner would still be entitled to any contribution he made to his retirement after 2012 though, which is when the law went into effect.
According to the Teachers’ Retirement System, Garner’s benefits cannot be assigned or transferred to another person in a situation like this, including a spouse or child.
There is the option for Joint Annuitant upon retirement, but that states benefits can only be transferred after the educator’s passing.
Those include two counts of second degree rape, two counts of sexual battery, a count of rape by instrumentation, and another count of forcible sodomy.
“Mustang Public Schools has continually worked in conjunction with law enforcement, the Canadian County District Attorney, and the State Department of Education on this matter and will continue to do so as the legal process concludes. We are committed to the safety of our students and staff and again ask that anyone with relevant or additional information about this situation call the OSBI tip line at 1-800-522-8017, email email@example.com, or contact the Canadian County District Attorney,” said Wilson.
According to the Oklahoma State Courts Network, a court date in Garner’s case has yet to be scheduled as of Friday afternoon.
News 4 reached out to the Oklahoma State Department of Education on May 26 about Garner’s retirement.
OSDE’s spokesperson, Justin Holcomb said, “Investigating as we speak.”
News 4 has since reached out twice for an update on Garner’s approved retirement, but hasn’t received a response.
As of Friday afternoon, Garner is still a licensed Oklahoma teacher.
“As we continue to investigate and monitor the criminal investigation into Raymond Garner, one thing is for certain, he will never again step foot in any Oklahoma school,” said Holcomb.