Branam to stand trial in September

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By Susan Sharp

Former middle school teacher Dean Branam will strand trial this fall on assault and sexual battery charges.

After being indicted on March 26 for the 10 combined charges, he was scheduled for arraignment in criminal court.

On Monday, his attorney, Michael Hatmaker, filed a waiver of appearance on his behalf.

Once Hatmaker entered a not guilty plea for Branam, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton asked if the possibility existed the case could be settled without a trial.

“Set it for trial,” Hatmaker responded without hesitation.

Assistant District Attorney Scarlet Ellis told Sexton special conditions had been placed on Branam’s bail, and agreed to by the defense.

Branam is not to contact any of the victims or witnesses in the matter, according to the order signed by Sexton on Monday morning.

Branam’s arrest occurred late last week after a grand jury handed down a sealed indictment in the case.

In the indictment he was charged with three counts of sexual battery and seven counts of assault, the court record said.

Four of the charges allege Branam used his position of authority, as a teacher, “to accomplish the sexual contact,” the indictment said.

In all, there were seven underage female victims, according to the court record.

After turning himself in, Branam posted a $10,000 bail and was released, jail records said.

The case began when one victim reported allegations of inappropriate conduct on Branam’s behalf to Jacksboro Police, said JPD Chief Danny Chapman.  Through the course of the investigation, other victims were discovered.

After spending 30 years in the education system, Branam tendered his resignation in a letter dated March 31 and submitted to the county’s central office of education.

His trial is set for Sept. 9.