A married teacher, who flashed a beaming smile in her mugshot after being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student, pleaded guilty to the crime.
Earlier this week, on Thursday (October 11), 28-year-old Sarah Madden Fowlkes, submitted her plea to a Caldwell County judge, who’s yet to accept it.
The agreement would require Fowlkes to serve four years deferred adjudication, pay a fine and surrender her teacher’s license, according to the report.
A deferred adjudication is a form of plea deal available in various jurisdictions, where a defendant pleads ‘guilty’ or ‘no contest’ to criminal charges in exchange for meeting certain requirements laid out by the court within an allotted period of time also ordered by the court.
Upon completion of the requirements, which may include probation, treatment, community service, some form of community supervision, or some other diversion program, the defendant may avoid a formal conviction on their record or have their case dismissed. In some cases, an order of non-disclosure can be obtained, and sometimes a record can be expunged.
According to Lockhart Independent School District, administrators were told of the relationship in March 2017, just before spring break, reports Fox 29 San Antonio.
However, many have questioned her mugshot and why she looks so happy given the severity of the situation.
Her lawyer, Jason Nassour, had previously claimed Fowlkes looked so cheerful in her mugshot because she was innocent.
As reported by NBC DFW, he said:
This isn’t a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught. When everything’s fleshed out, it won’t be as it appears.
Fowlkes taught anatomy and physiology at Lockhart High School, and was accused of engaging in ‘sexual content with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire’ of the student in March 2017, according to reports at the time.
Detectives launched an investigation after receiving a tip from a school administrator. The probe led them to the boy, who’d been in touch with Fowlkes, according to the police.
Fowlkes was suspended after turning herself in to police, and they said:
Their contact was of a sexual nature.
Her since-deleted bio on the school’s website says she previously taught third and fifth grade at Plum Creek Elementary School in Lockhart, according to Fox 29.
A letter from Lockhart ISD Superintendent, Susan Bohn, was sent to parents.
Part of it reads:
Every day you trust your children to our care, and it is a responsibility we do not take lightly. As a parent of a Lockhart ISD student, I join you in feeling anger and disappointment in what happened.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. If you are a child seeking advice and support call Childline for free on 0800 1111.