Former IPS counselor charged with child seduction allegedly involved with at least two students

Shana Taylor

Charges have now been filed against a former Indianapolis Public Schools counselor accused of engaging in sexual relations with two students.

Shana Taylor, 37, is alleged to have committed the offenses involving two 16-year-old male students while she was employed as a high school guidance counselor at Longfellow Alternative School in Indianapolis. She is charged with eight counts of Child Seduction (Level 5 Felonies), one count of Child Seduction (Level 6 Felony), Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (Class A Misdemeanor) and Dissemination of Matter Harmful to Minors (Level 6 Felony).

Shana Taylor had an initial court hearing Wednesday. She remains jailed on a $100,000 bond.

Court records raise two questions: How many more alleged victims are there? Also, once IPS administrators were told about the inappropriate behavior, why did they wait almost a week before notifying authorities?

According to sex crimes detectives, IPS guidance counselor Shana Taylor had sex with two of her students and possibly others. The alleged criminal behavior went on for nearly four months. 

Taylor did not comment on her way to or from court Monday.

Court documents say Taylor engaged in sexual intercourse and other sex acts in her office at Longfellow Alternative school, in her car, at one of the student’s homes, at her Johnson county apartment and at a Bloomington hotel.

When Taylor was accused by a parent of having sex with her son, IPS reported it to Child Protective Services, but not as fast as it should have. 

James Wide with Child Protective Services says "the law requires institutions report child abuse and neglect immediately." 

On February 17, a mother of a 17-year-old student told an assistant principal at Longfellow Alternative School that Taylor had sex with her son and sent him sexually explicit photos and text messages. On February 23, the school reported the charge to CPS.

Not quickly enough, Wide said.

It's not the first time this has happened. Schools have had repeated warnings from the criminal justice system. One of those cases came all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court.

After one student raped another in a Muncie high school, the principal not only delayed notifying police, but sent the suspect home with physical evidence of the crime. Supreme Court justices upheld the principal's conviction for not notifying immediately. 

Within just the last month came the case of a Park Tudor High School basketball coach who allegedly tried to have sex with a female student. The school notified CPS about the parent's allegation against coach Kyle Cox , but allowed him to take his school laptop home to remove personal data. It remains unclear if that included anything incriminating.

Now, in the Taylor case, because the counselor was allowed to go home and investigators were not immediately notified, it was days before police could examine her cell phone for possible incriminating messages.

"The safety of the children is paramount and we cannot waste time in reporting child abuse and neglect," said Wide.

Taylor lived in Greenwood, but moved recently to Monroe County.

"I thought she was nice," said Izaac Ford, a neighbor.

Ford thought Taylor was a lot younger than 37 and seemed to have a lot of young men visiting her upstairs apartment.

"I didn’t assume anything, really. I just thought they were younger friends at first," said Ford.

Taylor’s alleged victims were 16- and 17-year-old males.

Police say a parent came to the school’s principal showing him sexually explicit photos texts and Facebook messages Taylor sent to her son.
Instead of immediately notifying the Department of Child Services, as required by law, the principal contacted the IPS Director of Student Services, who passed him on to human resources, who gave the information to a case worker.

That case worker examined the evidence, interviewed Taylor and the teenager, then sent an email to the school to notify the investigators. That took six days. During the investigation, police say they identified another victim and evidence of perhaps two others.

Monday night IPS told Eyewitness News, "Indianapolis Public Schools continues to cooperate with authorities and has no further comment on items related to the ongoing criminal investigation."