August 27, 2013

Coahulla Creek teacher fighting charge

Rachel Brown

Editor's note: The sexual battery charge against Anthony Tony "Keith" Crossen was dismissed in February 2014. In a legal maneuver that allows defendants to enter a guilty plea while maintaining innocence, Crossen pleaded guilty to simple battery. Judge William T. Boyett sentenced him to 12 months on probation and 80 hours of community service.

A Coahulla Creek High School teacher is fighting a misdemeanor sexual battery charge stemming from interactions with a woman in her late 30s, his attorney said.

Anthony “Tony” Keith Crossen, 38, of 105 Big Creek Lane, Ringgold, was charged Friday by the Dalton Police Department. Crossen was released from jail the same day on a $1,000 bond.

Crossen referred questions to his attorney, Sam Sanders, who didn’t go into details but did note the allegations are unrelated to anything to do with Crossen’s students. Sanders said Crossen denies any wrongdoing.

“Tony is a lifelong resident of Dalton and Whitfield County,” Sanders said. “Tony has a good reputation in the community. He is 38 years old and had no criminal history to speak of. The allegation in this case would amount to a misdemeanor if they could prove what is alleged. Tony denies the allegations and denies any wrongdoing.”

Police Department spokesman Chris Cooke said investigators are still working on the case and wouldn’t release additional details until at least today.

Sanders said that while Crossen was arrested, the District Attorney’s Office will decide whether the case will move forward. A message left for District Attorney Bert Poston wasn’t immediately returned on Monday.

Crossen has coached various sports for the school system and currently teaches English for speakers of other languages.

“Mr. Crossen has worked for Whitfield County Schools since 2006 and is on paid administrative leave until the Dalton Police Department completes its investigation of an alleged incident off campus while he was off duty,” said school system spokesman Eric Beavers.