Teacher pleads guilty to having sex with 16-year-old student: SC AG
A former South Carolina high school teacher has pleaded guilty to a sex crime involving a teenage student.
The South Carolina attorney general’s office said Anna Elizabeth Jeanette Patton, 23, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a 16 or 17 year old studentreported WPDE.
Patton was originally accused of sexual violence with a 16 or 17-year-old student, no aggravated force or coercion; criminal solicitation of a minor; and broadcasting harmful material or presenting performances harmful to minors, according to prison records.
She could have spent a maximum of five years in prison for the sexual assault charge to which she pleaded guilty, under South Carolina law.
Instead, Patton will serving 30 days in prison after his five-year prison sentence was suspended by Judge Paul Burch, according to Darlington County Court records. His sentence will begin on July 1 and also includes 42 months of probation, according to court records.
Patton was credited with one day of time served and can complete the remaining 29 days of her sentence on a bi-weekly weekend schedule to meet a work schedule, court records show.
While solicitation and harmful material/harmful performance charges are still pending with the Attorney General’s office, court records show a charge of broadcast obscene material to a person under the age of 18 was not prosecuted.
The investigation began on January 11, 2020, when a concerned parent contacted the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office. The parent said Patton, a teacher at Lamar High School, engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the South Carolina Board of Education.
From Oct. 1, 2019, to Jan. 11, 2020, Patton committed sex crimes, according to arrest warrants from the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to having sex with the student, Florence’s wife sent the teenager messages containing sexually explicit material, as evidenced by the arrest warrants.
Patton used different social media accounts to send nude images to the student, and also sent texts to entice the teenager into having sex, according to the arrest warrants.
Following her arrest, Patton was placed on administrative leave by the Darlington County School Districtaccording to the South Carolina Board of Education.
On January 14, 2020, the The South Carolina Board of Education suspended Patton’s teacher certificationclaiming that she “could pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of students, who may be under her instruction”.
It is unclear whether her suspension will become a revoked certification now that she has pleaded guilty.
A lawsuit filed against Patton and the Darlington County School District by teen’s mother was either settled or withdrawn, according to court records.
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