Explicit photo evidence in case against Lexington coach

LEXINGTON, Okla. (KFOR) — Former Oklahoma teacher and coach, Vernon Tyler Thetford, is wanted by police. Thetford used to work at Lexington High School and is charged with lewd acts with a child.

Court papers explain Thetford allegedly sent multiple photos to a student that were obscene and had inappropriate messages on them.

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A warning, some details of the investigation may be disturbing to read.

In the affidavit, nine photos were found in the investigation by Lexington Police between August 2023 and January 2024.

“There were some pictures that were being sent around school. The counselor at the school had gotten hold of it. Because of the nature of the photographs, it was reported to law enforcement which started the investigation on it,” said Ronnie Johnson, the Chief of Lexington police.

The nine photos each allegedly show former coach Thetford posing shirtless or naked. Some included captions like “I’m all yours.”

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Court papers show in another photo, the man posing is wearing a Santa hat with the caption
“come sit on my lap.”

Lexington police said they haven’t stopped their investigation.

“We have also completed the investigations on those and and sent those up to the district attorney’s office for their recommendation on charges being filed,” said Johnson.

In January, Lexington schools made a post on social media saying they were looking into the interactions between a staff member and a student, and that Thetford was no longer employed by the school.

Thursday, the school sent News 4 a new statement in regards to the charges being filed.

Having been informed that a former staff member has been charged and may soon be arrested, Lexington Public Schools are glad to see progress in the case made by law enforcement. We continue to extend our empathy to all individuals affected by the actions detailed in this case and desire to be a part of healing and restoration in any way possible.

Lexington Public Schools

The District Attorney’s office sent News 4 a statement as well.

We take cases like these very seriously. It is an abuse of this defendant’s position to target juvenile students when they should be safe to go to school. Thank you to the Lexington Police Department for investigating these claims and presenting the evidence to our office so we can seek justice. We will prosecute this case to fullest extent of the law to protect our children and our communities.

Alexis White, Public Information Officer, District 21 District Attorney’s Office.

“We want to hold him accountable for his actions and protect all the children of the school,” said Johnson.

A warrant for Thetford’s arrest was filed Thursday afternoon. He has not been arrested yet.

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