Top Female Teacher Sex Offenders in the Spotlight:
Though the criminal sex penalties are the same, victims are underage, and the alleged actions are similar, female teacher sex offenders in most cases face significantly lighter sex crime penalties than their male counterpart offenders do. We have compiled a teacher sex offender list of female teachers who slept with students and charged with having an inappropriate teacher and student relationship. Teachers flirting with students and engaging in sexual activity seems to surfacing more often. Even more disturbing, these female teacher sex offenders have even gained pop culture status through intense media scrutiny regarding their arrests and sex crime trials. Contrary to their male sex-offending peers that are often deemed as “predators” by public and judicial consensus, female teachers involved in sex scandals tend to receive lighthearted, even flattering press coverage and minimal jail sentences that make them memorable pop culture stories, instead of being reviled sexual predators forgotten by the public as they serve out their criminal sentences.
In a five (5) year study by the Associated Press from 2001 through 2005, an average of five hundred (500) educators faced disciplinary or criminal action following allegations of sexual relations with students. Fueling the fascination even further, a only ten (10) percent of these teachers were women. In lieu of low numbers, the media frenzy surrounding an alleged sexual relationship between a female teacher and her student expose numerous details regarding each of these teacher and student sex encounters. Couple this intrusive form of journalism with an attractive, young female alleged offender, and a media feeding frenzy is sure to ensue.
In all cases, including any profile in the teacher sex offender list below, a person is presumed innocent unless they have been convicted and found guilty in a court of law. If you or someone you know has been charged and/or falsely accused of a sex crime with a minor, you should contact a child molestation attorney immediately to know your legal options.
Melissa Ann Andreini was a special education educator at Helper Junior High School in Helper, Utah when she came under investigation for sexual relations with a fifteen-year-old male student at her school. According to the criminal complaint, Andreini paid the student $1,500 after having sex with her in her home, which she later admitted to doing when confronted by the student’s mother. After the allegations, Andreini resigned from her position and is currently on $10,000 bond awaiting trial.
Criminal charges filed against Andreini include three counts of third degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor. She is currently awaiting trial in this criminal case, which police investigators filed in August of 2009.
Keri Ann Brekne was a seventh grade teacher in the social studies department at Lopatcong Township Middle School located in Phillipsburg, New Jersey when she was arrested for sexual assault against a fourteen-year-old girl in both her home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as well as in the female child’s home in New Jersey. Brekne has pled guilty to charges in both states, and her prison sentences will run concurrently. She is currently serving a seven (7) year sentence in Warren County, New Jersey for the crimes, as well as a fifteen (15) to thirty (30) year sentence for her crimes in the state os Pennsylvania. Brekne must also register as a sex offender for life, although maintaining in court documents that she is not a predator, nor a threat to society.
Criminal charges filed against Andreini include three counts of third degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor. She is currently awaiting trial in this criminal case, which police investigators filed in August of 2009.
Lisa Lynette Clark was a thirty-seven (37) year old mother, who attempted to marry a fifteen-year-old male, who happened to be a friend of her son, under a bizarre legal loophole under Georgia law. Clark and the victim attempted to marry under a Georgia law stating that underage individuals may marry if the bride at the time is expecting child. The couple is legally married currently, however, Clark faced serious legal issues stemming from the pregnancy, including criminal charges statutory rape, child molestation, and enticing a minor. Under a plea agreement, Clark has agreed to serve a nine (9) month sentence for pleading guilty to statutory rape, including agreeing not to communicate with the victim, or her husband, until he turns seventeen (17) years old. Additionally, Clark is now registered as a lifelong sex offender and is not allowed contact with any children aside from her own.
Criminal charges against Clark included one count of statutory rape through plea bargaining, which led Clark to serve a nine month period of incarceration with probation and other community control restrictions to follow her release.
Margaret De Barraicua, then age 30 at the time of the crime, was an interim teacher at McClatchy High School in Sacramento, California when police officers found her and a sixteen (16) year old male student behind the school in a parked car. During the February of 2009 arrest, responding officers noted steamed up windows, the car’s occupants moving rhythmically, and an infant child strapped in a safety seat inside the vehicle. Investigators eventually learned that the male student had actually seduced Barraicua over time, and finally, the woman gave into the underage student’s sexual advances, which lead to the incident behind the high school.
Criminal charges against Barraicua eventually became four (4) counts of statutory rape, which she was forced to serve one (1) year imprisonment as part of her sentencing.
Sandra Beth Geisel was a 42-year old teacher employed at Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, New York when, in September of 2005, allegations and criminal charges arose surrounding her sexual conduct with multiple male students. In the end, Sandra Beth Geisel was noted for having sexual relations with at least three (3) students, although Geisel claims that the later two (2) students were involved with her sexually against her will due to their attempts to blackmail the woman. In the end, testimony and evidence against Geisel was overwhelming, including claims she was intoxicated while on the job, actually getting arrested for DUI while awaiting trial, and allegedly providing minors alcohol. Sandra Beth Geisel was sentenced to six months incarceration in exchange for pleading guilty. She served two months of her sentence before being released in December of 2005.
Criminal charges against Geisel initially were two (2) felony counts of rape in the third degree and two (2) counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, but through plea bargaining, Geisel and her attorney were able to greatly reduce the severity and number of actual charges she pled guilty to in the end.
Becci Hill was employed as a behavioral counselor at Sanders School in Indianapolis, Indiana at the time of her arrest in July of 2006. Hill, who was 31 years old at the time of her arrest, was charged with having sex with an autistic, fifteen (15) year old boy on a rural road at 3:30 am, when police noticed her vehicle suspiciously parked alongside a rural path late at night. Further investigation revealed that Hill’s victim was allegedly mentored by Hill at the school, and according to investigators, Hill had been abusing the boy since he was fifteen (15) years old.
Criminal charges include pleading guilty to one (1) count of sexual misconduct with a child, which led to a sentence of two (2) years in prison , three (3) years probation, and must register as a sex offender.
Cynthia Horvath, aged 45 at the time, was employed as a teacher at Warner Christian Academy in the state of Florida when she was arrested for having sex with a seventeen (17) year old student over the summer of 2008. The victim and Horvath regularly rendezvoused at hotels in their local area, and upon confrontation by school officials about the alleged relationship at the time, Horvath immediately resigned. Criminal charges shortly followed, and in February of 2009, Horvath pled guilty and received a sentence of one-year community control, seven years of probation, and registration as a sex offender. Additional constraints included loss of her teaching license, inability to be near children, and loss of driving privileges when alone. In April of 2009, however, Horvath was rearrested for violation of probation after engaging in a chat session with a sixteen-year-old boy on Facebook as part of a sting operation. She is currently being held without bond in Florida.
Criminal charges included unlawful sex with a minor, and in light of the recent arrest, she is currently facing violation of probation charges as well.
Debra Beasley LaFave was a 23-year-old teacher at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida when she was arrested for having multiple sex encounters with a fourteen-year-old student throughout various locations in the school, including performing oral sex on the male student in her classroom and having intercourse with him in a portable classroom located on the school campus. Although facing much more serious charges initially, Debra Beasley LaFave plead guilty to less serious offenses in light of the victim’s mother learning the trial would be broadcast on Court TV. Debra Beasley LaFave served no jail time for the crimes in question, and as part of her sentence, LaFave registered as a sex offender, served three years in house arrest, and must serve seven years on probation.
Criminal Charges of two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in exchange for pleading guilty are those applied in the case, which allowed LaFave to avoid jail time.
Lisa Lavoie was a twenty-four year old teacher at Maurice A. Donahue Elementary School located in Holyoke, Massachusetts when she was charged with six counts of statutory rape, three counts of aggravated rape and abuse, and three counts of statutory rape, and enticement of a minor regarding a fifteen-year-old male student. After the boy’s parents alerted authorities regarding their son’s possible relationship with the teacher, Lavoie and the underage boy went on the lam, aimlessly travelling up and down the east coast of the U.S. In February of 2009, the pair was finally apprehended, and in June of 2009, criminal proceedings against Lavoie began in earnest. The aforementioned charges are still being sort out in court, and at this time, Lavoie is presumed innocent of any crime.
Criminal charges against Lavoie include six counts of statutory rape, three counts of aggravated rape and abuse, and three counts of statutory rape, and enticement, however, no ruling on any of the charges has been made at this time.
Autumn Leathers was twenty-four (24) year old English teacher at Mountain Ridge High School in Alleghany County, Maryland when she was arrested for having a sexual relationship with one of her students since he was fifteen (15) years old. According to police, alert neighbors noticed the young boy regularly leaving Leathers’ residence at late hours in the night and alerted authorities. Leathers admitted to being involved with the student for about three (3) months before her discovery, and in January of 2009, she pled guilty to one fourth degree criminal sex charge, which led her to receive a one (1) year suspended sentence and sex offender status.
Criminal charges against Leathers were all dropped, except for one count of a fourth degree sex offense, in light of a plea agreement.
Mary Kay Letourneau was a married, elementary school teacher in Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington when she began a relationship with a sixth grade student she had previously taught in second grade. Letourneau is arguably the forerunner in the female teacher sex scandal arena, which included her serving over seven years for rape of her student, later marrying the student in her crimes, having two of the student’s children, and being the true story behind a Lifetime Original Film. Today, the student, Vili Fualaau, and Letourneau are now married and raising the couple’s two children.
Criminal Charges of rape of a minor, which was a suspended sentence leaving Letourneau on probation for her crimes. However, Letourneau refused to avoid contact with the victim, who was still a minor at the time, and actually conceived the couple’s first child while in violation of her probation, which sent Letourneau to prison for seven and a half years.
Vicky Lynn Lewallen was a forty-five (45) year old biology teacher at Norman North High School in Norman, Oklahoma, as well as the school’s basketball coach, when she was arrested for having sexual relations with a sixteen (16) year old female student. According to police, the victim in the crime stated the acts were consensual and that she expressed no regret over the situation, as well as stating she had previously engaged in sexual relations with another educator at the school. Authorities eventually allowed Lewallen to plead guilty to two counts of oral sodomy, which upon sentencing in March of 2009, led to a two (2) year prison sentence, with an additional eight (8) years of the sentence being suspended.
Criminal charges include pleading guilty to include two counts of oral sodomy, which during the sentencing phase of the trial, resulted in a two (2) year period of incarceration to being immediately in March of 2009.
Jennifer Mally was employed as both cheerleading coach and English teacher at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona when she was arrested for charges relating to an alleged sexual relationship with a male, sixteen (16) year old student of hers. Mally maintained her innocence initially, including at one point when alone in an interview room stating to her husband via phone, “I know what I’m doing. I watch CSI." Later investigations revealed conversations between the student and Mally that were simply too damaging to take to trial, and in May 2008, Mally pled guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor and was sentenced to six months incarceration.
Criminal charges include three (3) counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, which she pled guilty to in May of 2008, resulting in a six-month sentence of jail and other conditions following her release.
Lisa Robyn Marinelli was a forty (40) year old teacher at Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida when she was arrested and charged with unlawful sex with a minor. The charges stem from an incident where a boy’s father saw his son exit the woman’s vehicle and zip his pants up. Initially, the sixteen (16) year old male in question was initially dating Marinelli’s fifteen (15) year old daughter. Following some legal moves, Marinelli eventually pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in April of 2009 and was sentenced to one (1) year under house arrest and registration as a lifelong sex offender.
Criminal charges against Marinelli included charges of unlawful sex with a minor, to which she pled guilty in April of 2009 and is now serving out the remainder of her one (1) year house arrest sentence.
Carrie McCandless was a twenty-nine (29) year old teacher employed at Brighton Charter High School in Brighton, Colorado when she was charged in relation to alleged sexual encounters with a seventeen (17) year old male student during an overnight school camping trip in October of 2006. Investigators stated McCandless plied the young man with alcohol and engaged in sexual activity with the boy mere feet away from other students. The principal of the school, Chris McCandless, who happens to be Carrie’s husband, immediately fired the woman. In the summer of 2007, McCandless pled guilty and was sentenced to forty-five (45) days in jail. In March of 2009, McCandless was jailed again under charges of violation of probation after it was found she had consumed alcohol and was found by authorities in the bed of another parolee. Interestingly, however, she and her husband, Chris McCandless, remain married.
Criminal charges include pleading guilty to included sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Alison Peck was a twenty-three (23) year old teacher employed at Greenfield High School in Greenfield, Missouri when she was arrested for having illegal sexual relations with a thirteen (13) year old male student. She was charged in May of 2009 with two (2) counts of statutory rape following confessing to having sex with the boy, but later, she allegedly met the student again for sex in late May of 2009. Following the second arrest, Peck has remained in jail awaiting trial due to inability to post bond.
Criminal charges against Alison Peck currently include at least two (2) counts of second-degree statutory rape and sodomy.
Kelsey Peterson was employed as a teacher at Lexington Middle School before engaging in an affair with a sixth-grade male student and fleeing with the child to Mexico in October of 2007. According to police, Peterson engaged in a sexual relationship with Fernando Rodriguez beginning when the boy was twelve (12) years old in June of 2006, and when confronted, the pair fled to Mexico. Due to this decision, Peterson was sentenced to six (6) years in federal prison for one count of crossing state lines to have sex with a person under the age of eighteen (18). This was part of a plea agreement that spared her facing federal kidnapping charges. Additionally, Peterson pled guilty to two counts of state charges for felony sexual assault on a minor. She is currently serving her federal sentence.
Criminal charges include being convicted of one count of violating federal laws regarding crossing state lines to have sex with a minor and two counts of sexual assault on a minor at the state level.
Stephanie Ragusa was a twenty-eight (28) year old middle school math teacher at Davidsen Middle School in Tampa, Florida before she was arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with two underage students. At three separate times, Ragusa was arrested during March and April of 2008 for engaging in sexual activities with two underage male students, aged fourteen (14) and sixteen (16). Her case is notorious for the pleasant smile she makes in all three of her mug shots. Currently, Ragusa is awaiting trial for multiple charges including felony sex with a child and lewd and lascivious battery.
Criminal charges against Ragusa are still pending, but initially, she has been charged with a count of felony sex with a minor and lewd and lascivious battery.
Jennifer Rice was a thirty-one (31) year old contractually employed teacher for several South Sound schools in the Tacoma, Washington area before information surfaced involving her with the molestation of ten (10) year old boy, who was a former student of Rice’s at McKinley Elementary in 2007. The pair was apprehended together after Rice and the child decided to run away together and an Amber Alert was issued for the child. Additionally, investigators have noted she may have had a sexual relationship with another fifteen (15) year old male previously as well.
Criminal charges include at least five (5) counts of first-degree child rape, one (1) count of kidnapping, and at least four (4) counts of first-degree child molestation.
Donna Lou Sanders was a forty-six (46) year old teacher specializing in special education at Magnolia High School in Magnolia, Arkansas and the wife of the school’s vice principal. However, in 2008, Sanders was arrested for essentially arranging a multi-partner sexual encounter at a local motel via Facebook involving two (2) girls aged twelve and thirteen, underage boys, and a twenty-two (22) year old man. Sanders also allegedly involved her own daughter in motel activities, including buying the teen alcohol and driving a car around while minors engaged I sexual activity in the back seat. Sanders pled guilty in late January of 2009 to five (5) counts of allowing abuse of a minor. She was sentenced to a total of fifty (50) years in prison, but is eligible for parole in 2017.
Criminal charges against Sanders were reduced through plea arrangements that allowed the woman to plead guilty to five (5) counts of permitting abuse of a minor, which each contain a potential penalty of up to ten (10) years of incarceration.
Natasha Sizow was a twenty-four (24) year old social studies teacher and swim coach at Granby High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia until she was arrested in February of 2008 under suspicion of sending nude photos of herself via her cellular phone to two seventeen (17) year old students, including a male and a female. In April of 2008, however, all charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. This case highlighted a new media interest and frenzy of “sexting” in regards to adults and minors.
Criminal charges against Sizow were all dropped, but she was initially charged with two (2) counts each of indecent liberties and use of a communications device to facilitate crimes against children.
Abbie Jane Swogger, age twenty- eight (28), was a teacher at Highlands Senior High School in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania before she was arrested for sexual conduct involving students and other minors. According to police, a rented hotel room contained Swogger, several teens aged fourteen (14) to fifteen (15), and numerous other illicit items, including alcohol, cannabis, and an open condom wrapper. Later revelations in the case showed that Swogger had regularly engaged in sexual acts with young men as young as fourteen (14). These allegations included photos leaked online showing Swogger being groped by six underage boys while nude. After the final tally was made, Swogger faced a total of 39 charges relating to her illicit sexual behavior, including providing crack cocaine to some of her victims. In May of 2009, she pled guilty to eleven of the thirty-nine charges and received a three (3) to six (6) year sentence with an additional thirty-six (36) years of probation, including lifelong registration as a sex offender.
Criminal charges against Swogger were at an all time high of (39) at one point during her criminal case, however, after making a plea bargain arrangement, Swogger pled guilty to eleven (11) charges, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, and possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine.
Traci Tapp, age twenty-six (26) years old, was a gym teacher at Hammonton High School in Hammonton, New Jersey when she initiated a relationship with a fifteen (15) year old student in 2003. Apparently, Tapp had previously been involved in a long-term relationship with another underage student previously, and several other students came forward with information stating they had sexual contact with the teacher. In early 2006, Tapp plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of harassment by offensive touching, which carried no jail time and only a fine of $225.
Criminal charges that Traci Tapp pled guilty to include only one (1) count of harassment by offensive touching, which she paid a $225 fine and avoided jail time.
Pamela Rogers Turner was twenty-seven (27) years old and employed at Centertown Elementary School in McMinnville, Tennessee as a coach and teacher when she was arrested in connection to sexual relations with a student aged thirteen years old. Turner was arrested in February of 2005 under charges that she had a sexual relationship with a thirteen (13) year old student. Turner pled no contest to charges including sexual battery by an authority figure, which allowed her to serve nine (9) months in prison and an eight year suspended sentence. However, upon release, Turner was found in violation of her agreement, when she repeatedly contacted the alleged victim through the internet, and sent him nude pictures and videos of herself. The state immediately mandated Turner to serve out the remainder of her eight-year suspended sentence and ordered an additional two (2) years in connection with exposing the child to nude images of herself in January of 2007.
Criminal charges against Turner began as a simple guilty plea for one count of sexual battery by an authority figure; however, violation of her suspended sentence terms and additional charge for delivering erotic images of herself to the alleged victim forced Turner to serve out her suspended sentence, as well as an additional two (2) years for the nude images.
Jaymee Wallace, age twenty-eight (28), was employed in the Tampa Bay, Florida area Wharton High School, where she taught math and coach varsity girls basketball for the school. Wallace allegedly had a year and a half long lesbian love affair with a student, starting when the student was fifteen (15) years old around early 2003. Wallace has denied the allegations, noting the relationship was close, but by no means sexual and her attorney stated no evidence linking the two females romantically, aside from witness testimony, has surfaced corroborate any claims. Currently, Wallace has pled not guilty and is free on bond.
Criminal charges Wallace may face include up to fifty (50) counts of unlawful sex with a minor per Florida state laws and the criminal complaint that stated Wallace and the alleged victim participated in sex together on over fifty occasions.
There is no excuse, justification, or sympathy for those who commit a sexual crime against a person, especially a child. However, as with any criminal case, being charged or accused of a crime does not indicate one is actually guilty of these offenses. Falsely accused sex offenders can have serious backlash. As seen in some of profiled cases above, charges were later dismissed. This is unfortunate, especially due to the nature of sex crimes involving those under the age of consent, because careers, family life, and other key relationships are forever damaged in the vindicated defendant’s life. Regardless of their guilt or innocence, simply being accused of a criminal sex offense involving a child is a significantly detrimental blow to any individual, especially a person involved with educating children as their career. In these cases, seeking the assistance of a child molestation attorney, or criminal defense lawyer is the only safe route to defend your rights. In some cases, attempts to contact alleged victims or other attempts to control the damage from rumors surrounding crimes may actually be viewed as evidence against a defendant and possibly be seen as obstruction of justice or intimidation.
As a society, however, we really need to question the above sex crimes, charges, and counts in relation to the actual amount of years in sentencing served. There exists a clear and wide disparity between the punishments female sex offenders face, especially when compared to male sex offenders. Clearly, there are flaws in the system, but the lifelong consequences for victims, defendants, loved ones, and even entire schools occur regardless of the outcome in the legal system. When sex crimes involving teachers take place, virtually everyone in the community and school becomes embroiled in the controversy, taking away from learning and quite possibly exposing young children to situations, words, and even actions that most should not even be exposed to at their age. However, in order to prevent future possible sexual abuse, schools and law enforcement are forced to be tough and take any sexual allegation seriously. And in some cases, possibly go beyond normal charges and allegations, if it means preventing future abuse of the children they are obligated to protect.