By mtjulietintern

Michael Shepard, a former teacher and softball coach at Wilson Central High School who was charged last summer with statutory rape, will next appear March 27 in Wilson County criminal court, according to court records.

Shepard, 36, pleaded not guilty to the two charges he faces of statutory rape by an authority figure.

Shepard was scheduled to appear before Judge Brody Kane on Jan. 30. Kane granted a continuance in the case. Shepard first appeared in Wilson County criminal court July 18, and he was scheduled to appear in court on three other dates in 2016. Each time, a continuance was granted.

Shepard was arrested at his home in July. The Wilson County Board of Education accepted Shepard’s resignation during a July 2016 special called meeting, which was held to bring charges against Shepard for termination since he was a tenured teacher at the school.

Shepard was relieved of his coaching duties after he became the center of an investigation.

According to Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, the criminal investigation also involved a student at the school, but details weren’t released.

Shepard taught algebra and geometry at Wilson Central from 2009-2016. His first season as head coach of the softball team was 2010.

The Lady Wildcats had a state championship appearance in 2014 and won the Class AAA state championship in 2015 with Shepard as head coach.

By Jake Old