Missouri teacher charged with sexual contact with abandoned student after marrying alleged victim

A former Missouri high school teacher has avoided all charges of having sexual contact with a student who will not stand trial after marrying the student in question.

Baylee A. Turner, a 26-year-old woman who previously taught at Sarcoxie High School in Jasper County, Missouri, was charged in February 2019, during her first year teaching there.

For the previous two years, she had taught at the school district’s middle school.

Turner had sex with one of her students between January 14 and January 21.

Charges against the Missouri teacher were dropped after she married her alleged victim.

When the unidentified male student married Turner, marital privilege applied to the affair. Since a person cannot be compelled to testify against their spouse in court, Turner’s case now lacks evidence.

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This complicated the case against the teacher and made it much more difficult to obtain the evidence required for a conviction.

This information is all confirmed by an assistant prosecutor in charge of the case, Nate Dally, as reported by local news source, The Jopling Globe.

It was because of these complications that their team decided to close the case, believing that it would be too difficult to prove his guilt in court without the testimony of his former student, now a husband.

The exact nature of the charges against Turner have not been disclosed.

In Missouri, state law prohibits sexual contact with a student by anyone in the school district. This includes employees, volunteers, civil servants, whether the person was appointed or elected to their position.

The last element of this law that makes certain details unclear is that this sexual contact is criminalized regardless of the age of the student, whether he has reached the age of consent or is a minor.

The case against Turner in particular did not include the age of the anonymous student, so it is unconfirmed whether or not he was of the age of consent at the time of the alleged offence.

Regardless of these details, their marriage still saved him from serious repercussions, but with the student’s age remaining unknown, the public is unsure how serious the reported offense could have been.

Turner will no longer be a teacher.

However, Assistant District Attorney Dally confirmed that Turner had given up his state teaching license.

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This is not necessarily the equivalent of the sentence she could have received had she been sentenced on the charges of sexual contact with the high school student.

However, Dally said removing his teaching license is one of the prosecutor’s office’s highest priorities in pursuing this case.

Undoubtedly, his voluntary quitting was probably another reason why they decided not to press charges, as they saw at least some of the results they were looking for.

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That doesn’t seem like enough, but it looks like the case is at an impasse.

And yet, if the accusations are true, should more have been done to keep this former teacher away from other children?

With no convictions against her, she’s theoretically no worse off on paper than someone who had simply never pursued a teaching license.

Should prosecutors have continued to work to move the case forward and find evidence elsewhere?

Or maybe they were right and the case was doomed once they lost the right to compel the former student to testify against Turner.

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Amanda Hartmann is a writer and editorial intern at YourTango who writes on a variety of topics such as news and entertainment.

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