Who didn’t have a crush on at least one of their teachers? It’s only natural for boys or girls growing up to experience feelings of attraction, especially for people older than them or in a power-position. After all, the human condition has always led us to seek out by whatever means the strongest and most influential mate. But these days, we’re guided by a set of rules that prevents us from acting on impulse. Murder, fraud, battery, and underage sex are met with public condemnation and a big ol' prison sentence.
The strictest rules governing people in power must make them the most infallible figureheads with oodles of integrity, right? Some of the time, perhaps. But even the good and the great fall down once in a while. Look at all the politicians that get papped visiting a mistress or private sex parties.
Teaching -- as a profession of responsibility -- is no more immune to the ravages of human desire. Sometimes, the sense of connection between a student and teacher is just too much to resist, and when neither is willing to break free, trouble ensues.
Here are just 16 teacher-student relationships that hit the news over the last few years; stories of men and women who risked losing their jobs -- not to mention a spell in jail -- to be with someone they couldn’t resist.
15 Shawnetta Reece
In August this year, Shawnetta Reese was arrested when it was discovered that the gym teacher had been involved in a sexual relationship with one of her students. The boy, just 15 years old and who cannot be named for legal reasons, became involved with the middle school teacher in 2013. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said, “The student was moving from the 8th grade into the 9th grade during this time. As a result of the investigation, Reece has been arrested for child molestation and sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority.”
According to the Mail Online, before her arrest, Reece had been “tweeting about Union County High's track and field team as she congratulated several students on recent meets.” The “sex romp” took place while Reece was teaching at Union County Middle School when the student was just 13 years old.
14 Laura Ramos
Bridgeport High School, located in north central West Virginia, is home to 750 students and 72 staff members. Laura Ramos was a special education teacher up until earlier this year. At her arrest in June 2017, Ramos admitted she had sex with two students over the course of a year. Ramos told police that the relationship started as merely flirting in December of 2016 and “progressed to sexual intercourse” multiple times until April, according to NBC International.
Details of her relationship with the students emerged after another student visited a school faculty meeting. The staff present were told that 31-year-old Ramos had “reached out to him for marijuana and talked to him about having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student” (NBC, 2017). Shortly afterward, Ramos handed herself in and admitted the charges. She's due back in court later this year.
13 Erin McAuliffe
Earlier this year, police launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct at a North Carolina public charter school. The rumors centered on 25-year-old math teacher Erin McAuliffe, who was fired from her position in May, one day before school administrators called police to report allegations. Police say said McAuliffe had, “sexual contact with two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old. The alleged encounters with the three students all took place off campus” (Mail Online, 2017).
After police were tipped off about McAuliffe’s activities they charged her with one count of indecent liberties with a minor and three counts of sexual activity with a student. The investigation is still ongoing, and McAuliffe was ordered to be held, on $20,000 bond, in the Carteret County Jail. Her first court appearance was scheduled for June 12, reports WITN. If found guilty, McAuliffe may face a long prison sentence.
12 Sarah Barton
British teacher Sarah Barton was banned from the classroom for life this year after she admitted 12 counts of sexual misconduct with one of her students. Barton had worked at an unnamed Essex school since 2007 and last year developed a relationship with one of her female students. She admitted accompanying the student to a show called Mathilda before taking her to a hotel room and engaging in sex acts.
The court heard how Barton had also had sex with the student in a car and in open fields on several occasions. “Once they became friends, it progressed to meeting in private to kiss[ing], and then eventually turned to sex,” the misconduct panel was told. “This was a sexually motivated relationship that continued despite warnings from her colleagues” (Crave Online, 2017). The 37-year-old married teacher was found out after she boasted about her exploits with friends and colleagues.
11 Sarah Lewis
A former Landmark High School teacher was given 195 days in jail earlier this year. Sarah Lewis admitted to having sex with an underage student and was tried and sentenced in Fourth District Court. The crime relates to events earlier in the year involving her and the student who, at the time, was a minor. She's said to have given the student alcohol and then raped him. Lewis struck a plea deal in June and pleaded guilty to one count of forcible sexual abuse, according to Herald Extra.
Lewis taught dance and social studies at Landmark. After her arrest, a second student later came forward alleging sexual activity with the teacher. According to reports of the case, Lewis “later filed a motion to withdraw the guilty plea, since unlawful sexual conduct with a minor of 16 or 17 years old was subject to a third-degree felony charge, rather than the second-degree felony of forcible sexual abuse” (Herald Extra, 2017).
10 Jennifer Caswell
Jennifer Caswell was sentenced in 2015 to ten years in prison for sex with a 15-year-old male student. The events took place in a classroom at the school on several occasions. Despite two witnesses seeing Caswell and the student having sex, the scandal wasn't reported, and the boy’s father suggested a cover up by the school. According to a report from The Oklahoman at the time, school officials were “accused of having attempted to cover up the abuse.”
The student, now 17, and his father have filed a civil law suit requiring Caswell to pay $1 million in damages. According to the judge presiding over the case, the experience left the boy with "depression, isolation, and self-blame" (New York Daily News, 2015). It's still not clear whether Caswell is able to pay the fine and, if not, what her fate will be. It's highly possible her prison sentence will be extended.
9 Jason Edward Cooper
Back in 2015, a teacher was arrested following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a female student. Jason Cooper, a science teacher at Plum Senior High School in Pittsburgh, was accused of engaging in sexual activities off campus with the student. The police were called when the principal of Plum was told of rumors circulating about the relationship. After conducting their own investigation, police charged Cooper.
Cooper and the student began communicating via Twitter, which soon led the pair to engage in sexual activity both in school and at Cooper’s home. According to WPXI.com, the student told police that she had visited Cooper’s new apartment Monroeville and there, had sex with him. She also claimed to be "still engaged in a sexual relationship with Jason Cooper and continues to spend the night at his apartment approximately 1-2 times per week” (WXPI.com). The investigation is ongoing.
8 Corey Michael Sweat
While working at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County, teacher Corey Michael Sweat formed a relationship with a female student. Between 2015 and 2016, Sweat would invite the student (who can’t be named) back to his house where he would have sex with her. Investigators said Sweat had sex with the student on more than five occasions, according to Fox News.
Sweat left Chapel Hill after rumors began to circulate of the relationship. Sweat resigned and took up a position at West Forsyth High School, but police were already compiling a dossier of his crimes. The student initially denied that Sweat had had sex with her, but the case gathered steam. Sweat was finally indicted and sentenced to ten years in jail. Speaking after the trial, Assistant District Attorney Anne Allen said, "At that age, children rely on their teachers, respect their teachers, and they seek guidance” (Fox News, 2017).
7 Brianne Altice
According to the Mail Online, teacher Brianne Altice is set to serve between two and 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse. At the time a teacher at Davis High School in Utah, Altice was arrested in 2013 after details emerged that she had engaged in sexual activities with a 16-year-old male student. After her arrest, two other students came forward and alleged inappropriate “teacher-with-benefit” activities with Altice.
After being bailed for her initial crime, Altice was then found to have slept with the student again. She has since been arraigned on all three charges, and the case is ongoing, but should she be found to have forcibly engaged in sex with these boys, she could face life behind bars. Commenting on the story, Mario Guerrier from Arizona State University said, “This is just agrigous [sic], is the system only concerned with protecting our daughters and letting these sexual predators do whatever they want to our sons!! [sic]”
6 Micha Gray
Back in 2000, British police began a manhunt for a student who went missing with her teacher. Head of year 11 at Leftwich School in Northwich, England Micha Gray disappeared along with his 15-year-old student. A spokesman for the Cheshire education authority said at the time, "We are aware that a 15-year-old girl has been reported missing and the matter is being investigated by police. Her family and friends are going through anguish, and we can only hope for a safe and early return" (The Guardian, 2000).
It was later discovered that the two had made their way to Germany where Mr. Gray has relatives. Gray -- then 28 -- was found and arrested when he later gave himself up at a police station a month after disappearing. He was given a police caution because it was later concluded that Gray and the girl had not engaged in a sexual relationship. The teenager who. at the time, was described as a model pupil and popular with her peers was returned safely to her parents.
5 Laura Cross
Former Buchtel High School teacher Laura Cross is known to have entered a three-year sexual affair with a teenage student in 2013. According to News 5 Cleveland, she was indicted earlier this year on “three counts of sexual battery over a period beginning on August 1, 2013 through September 6, 2016.” She's currently behind bars under a $100,000 bond.
The father of the boy was alerted to the affair when it emerged last year that he and Cross had had a child together. However, the teen's father says he “first raised concerns to both a Buchtel High School official and Tallmadge Police as early as 2012 when his son was a freshman -- but no charges were filed” (News 5). The teen’s mother, on the other hand, had consented to him moving in with Cross so she could continue to “mentor” him, according to reports.
4 Nina Scott
Nina Scott, a 28-year-old teacher at a school for children with behavioral problems was arrested earlier this year and charged with a string of sexual offenses involving a female minor. Formerly a teacher at The Village in Rosemont, Scott admitted to having had “numerous sexual encounters with a 16-year-old female student” (Crave Online, 2017). Allegedly, Scott had lesbian sex with the student at her home, in parks, and at the school before police were tipped off.
The relationship lasted eight months and was seemingly at the behest of the student. British newspaper The Sun wrote that “the victim reportedly said the relationship started when she passed a note to Scott that read, 'How would you feel if I kissed you?' Scott then admitted in court that she returned the note promising not to tell anyone. Further investigation revealed love letters from Scott to the student, said officers.
3 Jeremy Forrest
Back in 2012, British police launched a search for a missing 15-year-old student. It soon became apparent that the teen left the UK along with her math teacher, Jeremy Forrest, after they had been having a sexual relationship for some months. The pair was eventually found in Bordeaux, France, and Forrest was extradited to Britain to stand trial. Forrest was reported to have “picked her up in her school uniform before having sex with her in his car, in hotels, and at his marital home” (Mail Online 2017).
The girl, now 17, recalls how her infatuation for Forrest fueled the lovers’ flight to Europe. “When you start falling for someone, you get obsessed and want to know every detail. I was fascinated by his world and would ask about his marriage, how he proposed, his girlfriends at university,” she told the Mail Online. Forrest has since served his three-year jail sentence but allegedly has already broken a court order restricting any contact with the girl.
2 Lindsay Black
Lindsay Black was a stand-in teacher for St Joseph’s High School in Newport, Wales. Back in 2013, it emerged that she had “pestered a pupil for sex, singled out the virgins in her class, and made her students mime sex acts” (Huff Post, 2013). Colleague Sandra Davies recalled, “Pupils told me that during drama classes, Miss Black would talk about sex, and she turned the lessons on to a sexual theme.”
The drama teacher, who also got her students to act out giving oral sex, according to The Telegraph, became infatuated with one of her 17-year-old students. According to reports, Abigail Watts, a fellow teacher, said she'd heard rumors of the developing friendship between the pupil and her colleague. “They said she had been Facebook messaging Pupil A -- she told him she had [had] a dream about them having sex. They had not met up, but they had been talking about it,” recalled Watts.
1 Eleanor Wilson
A teacher from Bristol, England was banned indefinitely from teaching after details emerged of her involvement with one of her students. As a class was flying back from a European trip, Eleanor Wilson and the boy allegedly got drunk and began flirting. She then took the student into the toilet of the passenger plane and had sex with him. According to The Independent, the relationship was revealed when another student learned of it and requested Miss Wilson to engage in sexual activity, or else, he'd tell the school of the tryst.
Wilson had been a physics teacher at the school since 2013 and, by all accounts, was much admired professionally. The misconduct panel heard she was "highly regarded" as a teacher and had been praised by parents and pupils (The Independent, 2017). However, the panel found her guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute” (National College for Teaching and Leadership panel). She was banned for life.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.com