South Ripley High School teacher charged with serving alcohol to teens at party

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 19:33:57-04

VERSAILLES, Ind. -- A South Ripley High School teacher is facing a misdemeanor charge after deputies say she served alcohol to teens at a party.

Authorities charged Melissa Wilhoit with furnishing alcohol to a minor and school district officials are "reviewing" the case after deputies were sent to a report of a large party with underage drinking early June 14 in Holton.

When deputies arrived, they saw people scattering, a Ripley County Sheriff's Office detective said in court records. A teen resident at the scene told deputies they were having a going-away party for an exchange student.

Deputies saw open containers around the area and what appeared to be a beer pong game, according to court records. They found six people over 18 but under 21 who had been drinking alcohol and several others under 18 who had been drinking alcohol.

Wilhoit told deputies she let her daughter have the party and got a cake, but she was inside asleep and didn't know how many people were there, according to court documents.

However, one under-21 witness told deputies she saw Wilhoit give another under-21 girl a bottle of vodka to drink and saw her bring out alcohol-filled Jell-O shots for her and other under-21-year-olds at the party in the garage area, according to court records.

Wilhoit is a social studies teacher at South Ripley High, according to the school's website. Superintendent Robert D. Moorhead said in a written statement that he has been made aware of the charge.

"At this point we are reviewing the charges and working with our legal counsel to determine an appropriate course of action moving forward," Moodhead said. "As this is a matter that pertains to personnel, we will not be able to discuss anything further publicly or make any public statements."