A former teacher at Axtell Park Middle School in Sioux Falls is facing a fourth degree rape charge and two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16.

33-year old Tonya Marie Druppel is accused of beginning a relationship with the 14-year old girl in 2012 until Druppel resigned from the school district in May 2013.

“We don’t tolerate behaviors of this nature. In this case, this person is no longer with us, but the pain still remains, deeply with the child,” said Sioux Falls School Superintendent Pam Homan at a news conference Wednesday. "Safety is always our number one concern. And when we know that an event, a person or anything that puts a child at risk, we deal with it and we with it as quickly as we can."

Sioux Falls police began their investigation last week on a referral from the Department of Social Services.

According to KSFY, police said Druppel had numerous encounters with the victim, and when authorities found her, she tried to commit suicide:

The affidavit describes several alleged encounters between Drueppel and the victim, the most recent on January 24. It says that officers found the victim and Drueppel together then at the Nites Inn in Sioux Falls. The victim hadn't shown up for school that day, and Drueppel had called in sick from her job at Tea Tots daycare. The affidavit said that when officers entered the hotel room, Drueppel was trying to hang herself with an electrical chord in the bathroom. She was taken into custody and transported to the Law Enforcement Center where she was interviewed by officers.


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