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High school ROTC instructor accused of sexual misconduct

PICAYUNE (AP) — A high school military instructor in Mississippi is facing charges of having inappropriate sexual contact with a student.

Local news outlets report 48-year-old Steven Todd Hardin was taken to a correctional center in Pearl River County on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on six counts of sexual battery of a minor.

Police say the charges stem from his time as a Navy Junior ROTC instructor at Picayune Memorial High School.

Authorities arrested Hardin on Wednesday at a high school in Lauderdale County, where he now trains children in the Navy Junior ROTC program.

Picayune police said in a statement Hardin’s arrest was the result of complaints received by them and the Picayune School District about conduct that allegedly occurred against one student during the 2015-16 school year.

“Mr. Hardin is a person who was in a position of authority and abused his authority when it came to his alleged sexual conduct with students,” Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said in a statement.

Superintendents of school districts in both counties said they could not comment on the matter.