Teacher’s marriage to student results in dismissal of charge

Feb. 1—The charge against a former Sarcoxie High School teacher for having alleged sexual contact with a student has been dismissed in light of their subsequent marriage and its impact on prosecution of the case.

Baylee A. Turner, 26, was charged in February 2019 with having sexual contact with one of her male students after an investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.

Turner was in the middle of her first year of teaching English at Sarcoxie High School when a case arose that she’d had sexual intercourse with a student the week of Jan. 14-21, 2019, and she resigned from her position. She had taught at the district’s middle school for two years before taking the position at the high school.

The Sarcoxie School Board voted to petition the state to have her teaching license revoked.

Nate Dally, an assistant prosecutor in the case, told the Globe that the charge against her was being married in light of the defendant having the student in question. Dally said that because the marital or spousal privilege now applies, her former student can no longer be compelled to testify against her, making the state’s case exceedingly difficult to prove in court.

Dally said that Turner has surrendered her state teaching license, which has been a primary concern of the prosecutor’s office in the case.

The probable-cause affidavit filed in the case did not provide the student’s age. State law prohibits sexual contact with a student by a school district employee, volunteer or official, either elected or appointed, regardless of whether the student is a minor or of age for consensual sex.

Turner is one of six young educators in Southwest Missouri to be accused in recent years of having sexual relations with a student. The charge also has been filed against teachers or student teachers in Joplin, Webb City, Monett, Diamond and McDonald County schools.

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