Prosecutors in Missouri have dropped sexual assault charges against a teacher after she married the student she was accused of having sex with. Baylee A. Turner, 26, a former Sarcoxie High School teacher, was charged with having sex with one of her male students. Both Turner and the student acknowledged of having sexual intercourse at that time.
However, assistant prosecutor Nate Dally told the Globe that the charges have been dropped against Turner because she has now married the student, which gives the student marital privilege. It is not known when the two got married. Also, the name of the student has not been disclosed.
Avoiding Prison Time
Turner was in her first year of teaching English at Sarcoxie High School when she was accused of having sex with a student in January 2019. She later had to resign form her post. Turner was 23 years old at that time. The age and name of the student hasn't been revealed.
According to court documents, both Turner and the student during investigation acknowledged that they had sex at Turner's home in Sarcoxie, about 260 miles southwest of St. Louis.
Following that she was charged with sexual assault and was facing four years in prison. However, the charge has now been dropped after Turner married the student.
Prosecutor Dally said that since they are now married Turner can't be charged and all the cases have been dropped against her.
Because the former pupil now has marital or spousal privilege, Dally said he can't be forced to testify against his wife in court, weakening the state's case.
However, it is unclear when the two got married.
Also, it is not known if Turner married her student to get the charges dropped against her and eventually avoid serving a four-year sentence. According to reports, the fling started just days after Turner joined the school.
She would regularly engage in sex with the student. That said, it is not known how she was exposed. Amid pressure from the school board, Turner had previously resigned from her position and surrendered her teaching license, the Globe reported.
Before starting to work at the high school, Turner had taught the middle school in the school district for two years.
Missouri state law prohibits sexual contact between teachers and students, regardless of age. According to the Globe, half-dozen young educators have been accused of having sex with students in recent years in Missouri. Turner is one among them.
Turner's case is reminiscent of the controversial relationship between Mary Kay Letourneau, a Washington state teacher, and Vili Fualaau, a sixth-grade pupil. Letourneau pleaded guilty to raping Vili when he was 12 years old in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
The pair had married in 2005 and had two children together before Fualaau filed for divorce in 2017. Letourneau died of colon cancer at the age of 58 in 2020.