Gurley, AL – A former Madison County High School special education teacher was indicted on five charges related to sexual activity with students.
Lyndsey Bates, the former daughter-in-law of Madison County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Stacy Bates, was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old male student and sending sexually explicit photos to that boy and a second student, the Birmingham News reported.
Officials have said both students were at least 16 years old and neither of the young men was in Bates’ special education classes.
In Alabama, the age of consent is 16, the Birmingham News reported.
However, the state also has a teacher-student sex law that says that consent is not a defense.
Bates, 22, was initially arrested on April 12, and her then-husband Andrew Bates filed for divorce two days later, the Birmingham News reported.
The divorce was finalized in July.
She was indicted in October and turned herself in to authorities shortly thereafter.
Madison County jail records showed that Bates was charged with a felony count of engaging in a sex act with a student younger than 19, according to the Birmingham News.
She is also facing three counts of distributing obscene material to a student and one count of having sexual contact with a student, all of which are misdemeanors.
Her bail was set at $32,000. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted, the Birmingham News reported.
Bates has resigned from her teaching position but still maintains her teaching certificate.
Madison County Superintendent Matt Massey said that school district was helping with the investigation, the Birmingham News reported.
“We are fully cooperating with law enforcement. Our system fully condemns such actions and we are also offering counseling for our students,” Massey said.
Bates’ former father-in-law’s law enforcement agency investigated the accusations against the special education teacher, but the sheriff’s department claimed there was no conflict of interest in the way the investigation was handled.
“The Sheriff’s Office started an investigation as soon as the allegations were brought to our attention, and Chief Bates was never involved in that investigation,” Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner said after Bates was arrested, according to the Birmingham News.
Bates is out on bail awaiting trial in February of 2020.
“She’s looking forward to clearing this up and having her day in court,” her defense attorney, Robert Tuten, told the Birmingham News.