A music teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl is now in the Rogers County jail. Mark Thomas Buchanan teaches music at Claremore-Sequoyah Public Schools. He was arrested Monday afternoon after his wife turned him in.
“I'm completely surprised...to say I'm shocked would be an understatement,” says Buchanan’s neighbor, Bill Flake.
Flake has lived in the neighborhood for three years and couldn’t believe it when he heard his friend had been arrested.
"They go on vacation and we watch out for their house, and we go on vacation and they watch out for ours,” says Flake.
He says he won’t believe the charges against him until Buchanan’s actually convicted of a crime. Right now, Buchanan is behind bars accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl in his music class. The teacher has been at Claremore-Sequoyah for six years and prior to that he taught at Sand Springs.
"You think that you do a wonderful job of hiring and training and developing along the way, and unfortunately, some people still make choices that are outside the core values that we've established here,” says Claremore-Sequoyah superintendent, Terry Saul.
Currently, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office has its hands full of cases involving teachers accused of having sex with students.
“We've experienced three of these in a matter of a few weeks in Rogers County involving teachers, different victims and different suspects,” says Sheriff Scott Walton.
According to deputies, Buchanan had been having a sexual relationship with the girl since January of this year. When he feared the student might be pregnant, he told his wife that some of the incidents happened in a closet next to the choir room at school.
For Bill, there’s only one thing he can do for his neighbor now.
"I can do nothing but pray for him and wish him the best,” he says.
Buchanan faces 18 charges including first degree rape, lewd molestation and sodomy. He's being held without bond, and is scheduled to appear in court on July 18th.