A Missouri Math teacher has been charged for having an inappropriate sexual and romantic relationship with a 17-year-old student.
Victoria "Tori" Fowler, 30, of Caulfield, has been indicted by a Howell County grand jury with three counts of statutory rape and one count of statutory sodomy.
Bakersfield Superintendent Dr. Amy Padgett said that she could not comment on past or present personnel matters, but she said that the school takes reports seriously.
"Anytime a matter of student neglect or abuse is brought to our attention, we immediately report it to the proper authorities and fully cooperate with investigations. Student safety is the priority, and we will always cooperate with authorities," Bakersfield Superintendent Dr. Amy Padgett told the Ozark County Times.
Fowler Accused of Meeting the Teen for Sex on Multiple Occasions
According to the court documents, Fowler met the student while she was employed as a teacher at the Bakersfield School District last year. The investigation began Aug. 30 when officers with the Ozark and Howell County Sheriff's Departments were made aware of nude photos sent between the woman and the teenager.
Ozark Radio News reported the educator used images of her breasts and shower selfies to seduce the victim, throughout summer. The probable cause statement says that Fowler admitted to meeting with the teen for sex three times in southwestern Howell County between July 4 and Aug. 1. The teen reportedly said the alleged acts began as early as May.
Fowler Fired in the Wake of the Allegations
Fowler left the Bakersfield School District at the end of the last year to take a job at the Lutie School District for the 2023-24 school year. Lutie Superintendent Kathalee Cole said that Fowler was terminated immediately when school officials were made aware of the charges and allegations.
"We have reviewed and determined this matter, and to the best of our knowledge, no Lutie student was involved," a statement from the Lutie School Board obtained by the Times read. "Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the teacher was removed from her duties; prohibited from being on school premises or to have contact with district students.
"As is the case with every district hire, this former teacher obtained a clear criminal record check before contact with students. This was not a person new to the teaching profession, rather she had significant teaching experience and had excellent references. Whether a Lutie student or a student in any school district, the abuse of children is tragic. The Board and staff of the Lutie School District are and have been committed to providing our students with a safe learning environment," the statement contined.
Fowler Faces 7 Years in Prison
Fowler was arrested and held in custody for a 24-hour time period in the Ozark County Jail on Aug. 31, but because the alleged physical acts are said to have occurred in Howell County, the case is being investigated and charges are filed there.
The case was turned over to the Howell County Prosecutor, who brought the allegations before a grand jury there. The grand jury, a group of peers in Howell County, determined that there was enough evidence to bring the charges against her in an indictment that was filed Sept. 13.
A summons was issued for Fowler to appear in Howell County court at 9 a.m. Oct. 16 to be arraigned. Online records do not show that she is being held in jail there. Each of the charges is a class D felony, which can carry a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.