A Cherokee High School teacher faces a misdemeanor charge following an alleged domestic dispute incident at his home and a restraining order from a local assisted living community after allegedly threatening the employees where his wife worked.
Police reports detail more than a dozen calls for reported disturbances at the home of Jesse Dent, 46, dating back more than a decade, though the current charge is the first he has faced.
Dent, a science teacher at Cherokee High School, was arrested in December for criminal trespass/damage to property following a domestic dispute in his home in Waleska, according to police reports and court records. Dent has been on leave from his teaching job since Dec. 4. Citing privacy laws, district officials declined to give a reason for the leave.
Dent is accused of intentionally damaging items in the home he shared with his wife on Dec. 4, 2017, according to the initial warrant for his arrest. He was released on a $2,000 bond on Dec. 7, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley. One condition of his bond be that he have no contact, either directly or indirectly, with his wife. Dent appeared for his arraignment on Feb. 14 in State Court and pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to return to court March 12 after retaining an attorney to represent him.
Earlier this month, he was served in a civil action from Provident Village at Canton, an assisted living community and memory care neighborhood, where the company and its employees petitioned the court for a temporary restraining order and three-year injunction against him.
According to court documents, Provident Village officials allege Jesse Dent harassed his wife there last June while she was working as a wellness director. Employees claim Dent “became enraged and extremely aggressive toward” her in the business’ parking lot. Provident Village acting Executive Director Angela Webb asked Dent to leave the premises immediately, at which point he screamed and yelled profanities before leaving the parking lot, the petition claims.
Webb also claims to have witnessed signs of physical abuse against Dent’s wife on several occasions. Webb said she warned Dent not to return to the property.
However, in early December 2017, Dent allegedly parked in the Provident Village parking lot and aggressively questioned a staff member about the location and work schedule of Dent’s wife. On Dec. 4, Dent reportedly entered the facility and demanded another employee give him his wife’s work schedule. He returned to the community’s parking lot on Dec. 20 and demanded to know where his wife was.
After returning to the facility again on Jan. 6 and demanding to know his wife’s whereabouts, Dent allegedly “issued a death threat to the employees by stating in an angry and threatening manner to (his wife) that he’s ‘going to get all of them’ and that ‘they’re going to pay,’” according to court documents.
According to court document Provident Village employees claim Dent suffered delusions that they were spying on him and conspiring to record his moves and conversations. They “reasonably believe that they are under threat of death or serious bodily injury, and caused the employees to fear for the safety of the elderly residents of Provident Village.”
Webb contacted Canton Police after learning of Dent’s threats on Jan. 8, though according to the petition, he continued to threaten to visit the facility unannounced.
In the petition, Provident Village asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against Dent, barring him from having any direct or indirect contact with the employees at their workplace, following or stalking them from their workplace and staying at least 300 yards away from the facility and the employees while they are at work.
Known to law enforcement
Since 2014, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has responded to at least seven calls of domestic disputes involving Dent and his wife, to the point that responding officers were familiar with the couple, according to police reports.
However, his arrest on Dec. 4, 2017 is the first time he has been charged with a crime.
Police responded to Dent’s residence in July 2014 after receiving a call from a relative that Dent had damaged windows at the home and threatened to burn the house down.
In 2015, Canton Police officers responded to at least three calls in a matter of four months involving Dent and a clerk at the Shell gas station located on Riverstone Boulevard. What initially started as a dispute between Dent and the business when he reported the clerk was behaving suspiciously escalated quickly when he was denied service at the store.
Officers responded to the business in June 2015 after Dent allegedly told the clerk “that if he saw him out on the road, he would break his legs,” according to a police report.
Police received at least five calls in reference to domestic disputes between Dent and his wife in 2017 alone.
Dent’s arrest and charge stem from an incident where deputies were called out on Dec. 4, 2017, when a neighbor reported a dispute. When law enforcement arrived, they discovered property destroyed throughout the house, which Dent reportedly admitted to doing while his wife was at the grocery store.
The police report filed by Provident Village about Dent’s behavior on Jan. 8 is the only police report obtained by the Tribune to mention directly that investigators with Cherokee County School Police were notified.