Teacher charged with sexting teen

A local trade school instructor was arrested Friday and charged with attempting to solicit a Knox Central High School female student for sex in November 2017.

John Barger, 51 of Barbourville was arrested by Kentucky State Police after they say he sent a Facebook message to a KCHS female student on November 1, 2017 “to solicitate the female student for sex.” Barger was charged with one count of Prohibited Use of Electronic Communication System to Procure Minor/Peace Off Re: Sex Offenses.

Barger is an instructor at Knox County Area Technology Center, where he is employed through the Kentucky Department of Education. When asked for comment, Rebecca Blessing, Director for the Division of Communications replied, “The Kentucky Department of Education does not comment on personnel matters.”

Since many students locally take classes at the vocational school, Barger was initially thought to be an employee of Knox County Public Schools, but he is not.

“Mr. Barger is an employee of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education,” said Frank Shelton, Director of Communications and System Governance with Knox County Public Schools. “The Area Technology Center is under their control including personnel. The Knox County Public Schools will work with KDE in ensuring that instruction in that classroom continues while this is being investigated.”

Barger was arrested by KSP Trooper Justin Barton and lodged in the Knox County Detention Center, and released the same day on a $5,000 cash bond. Barger pled not guilty Monday and is due back in court Tuesday, March 6 for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to the grand jury.