Cherokee County

Former Cherokee County chorus teacher convicted on 9 counts of sexual assault against students

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A former Woodstock High School chorus teacher was sentenced this month on nine counts of sexual assault.

According to Acting District Attorney Susan K. Treadaway, 40-year-old Ryan Parker McKendrick was charged after authorities were notified of possible sexual misconduct involving high school girls in 2017 and 2018.

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Treadaway said in Sept. 2018, WHS administration became aware of a text conversation involving McKendrick and two female students.

“When these crimes came to light, the girls were abundantly clear about what the defendant had done to them. Sadly, some members of the community and their peers discounted their experiences, even suggesting any touching was accidental. However, the facts showed that the defendant’s actions were unlawful. He groomed not only these girls but also everyone around him so that he could continue to engage in this troubling behavior,” said Assistant District Attorney Leyna Pope, Special Victims Unit, who prosecuted this case on behalf of the state. “It was a privilege to stand beside these girls as they finally got to address the man who abused them.”

According to the investigation, McKendrick had been the school’s chorus teacher since 2007.

McKendrick was charged in Oct. 2018 with nine counts of sexual assault of a student, specifically touching and groping six high school students under 18.

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Specifics on what occurred between McKendrick and the students were not released.

At his sentencing on Feb. 9, 2023, eight victims delivered impact statements describing how traumatizing the abuse was and the betrayal they felt that a person they trusted and had known for years would treat them this way.

“It takes a very sick man to take advantage of vulnerable, under-aged girls in the ways that you did,” one victim said to the defendant during the plea hearing. “Today, I let you go. And I hope it is the last time I will ever hear your name.”

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McKendrick was sentenced to 20 years, with the first three to serve in prison and the balance on probation under sex offender special conditions. The court added that he is forbidden to have contact with the victims or minors under the age of 18.

“Even if the defendant does not feel any remorse for their actions, I hope the time spent in a cell is a time spent on reflection. I hope these impact statements have helped the defendant realize that little comments and actions eventually turn into something much bigger. Now here we are, on top of a mountain the defendant created, a mountain me and other girls had to climb,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is up to the defendant to change. It is up to him to recognize the heavy mistakes made and prevent them from being repeated.”

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