2 face charges in obstruction, seduction case

From Local Sources

WEST BADEN — Two individuals — a former Springs Valley High School teacher and a man now accused of aiding her in attempting to communicate with a juvenile victim — are facing obstruction charges in a child seduction case that started with the teacher’s arrest earlier this year.

On Jan. 25, Kari Buchanan, 42, West Baden turned herself in to law enforcement following an Indiana State Police investigation into events that occurred in December 2018. During the initial investigation, Buchanan was employed as a teacher at the Springs Valley Community Schools and it was discovered that she allegedly had inappropriate communications with a juvenile Springs Valley student.

She was initially charged with possession of child pornography and child seduction, both Level 6 felonies.

Buchanan was arrested again June 5 in connection with the case. Trooper Detective Shane Staggs opened another investigation after learning that Buchanan had allegedly attempted to have a witness change their testimony in the previous case she was arrested for.

Through the investigation, Staggs was able to establish enough probable cause for arrest warrants to be issued for obstruction of justice, a Level 6 felony, and invasion of privacy a Class A misdemeanor.

On Monday, Staggs also arrested Isral Qualkenbush, 37, French Lick, on a warrant charging him with Level 6 felony obstruction of justice.

Qualkenbush’s arrest was the result of his involvement in aiding Buchanan in communicating with her original juvenile victim earlier this month via cellphone, at which point Buchanan attempted to persuade the victim to change their statement to the Orange County Prosecutor’s Office, subsequently obstructing the investigation, police allege.

Qualkenbush was incarcerated at the Orange County Jail before being released on a $1,005.00 cash bond.

While reporting on the new arrest, police noted all suspects are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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