Jeremy McClusky said he developed a “counselor” type of relationship with the victim and that the messages involving sexual acts were short in nature “to help maintain her trust towards him.”

A para-professional in the Monroe City R-I School District is facing charges of child enticement for allegedly exchanging suggestive messages with a 14-year-old student via a mobile phone app.

Jeremy McClusky, 39, of Monroe City has been charged with felony enticement of child. The charge carries a term of not less than five years up to 30 years in prison.

“This is a very serious allegation. My office thoroughly reviewed the available evidence before filing this charge,” Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton said. “The defendant allegedly used his position of influence and authority to attempt to solicit sexual contact from this child. If proven, this amounts to a shocking betrayal of trust.”

McClusky, in a mirandized interview with Marion County detectives, said he continued to message the girl to keep her trust after he developed a mentor relationship with her. McClusky allegedly told detectives students would come to him with their problems and he would attempt to assist them. He said the conversation with the victim had “gone too far.”

The charges came after the girl's father discovered messages on the mobile app Kik — a messaging app in which people can adopt pseudonyms to have conversations with others. The conversation in question began on Aug. 31 and included dialogue about sexual acts, but it is believed other messages on the app date back several months.

After viewing the message, a Marion County deputy said “it appeared that the two were attempting to possibly engage in a sexual act.”

According to the probable cause statement filed in the case, Dr. Tracy Bottoms, superintendent of the Monroe city R-I School District, placed McClusky on administrative leave and also collected a statement from the victim. Bottoms told investigators McClusky sent him an email saying the conversation between he and the victim had become “comfortable.” Deputies took copies of that email and of the victim's statement to Bottoms.

During an interview, McClusky told investigators that the relationship between he and the victim had started a year ago when “she started coming to him and saying she had thought about harming herself,” according to the probable cause statement.

McClusky said he developed a “counselor” type of relationship with the victim and that the messages involving sexual acts were short in nature “to help maintain her trust towards him.”

McClusky is being held on $50,000 bond.