A former Northwest Whitfield High School teacher in Georgia was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to having a sexual relationship with an underage student.
Raquel Eleana Spencer, who used to teach English at Northwest, was sentenced to 10 years after being charged with sexual assault by a person with supervisory and disciplinary authority. According to the Dalton Daily Citizen, she had to spend 120 days in a detention center and the rest on probation as well as perform 300 hours of community service and observe all sex offender special conditions of probation. In addition, she also had to pay a $1,000 fine plus court costs and surcharges.
Although not many details about the affair were revealed, investigators went through Spencer’s phone and discovered that she had a sexual relationship with a minor, who was a student of Northwest, between Oct. 1, 2017, and April 8, 2018. She resigned from the school on April 25, after being arrested by the police on campus.
Staff and students at the school initially noticed her behaving unusually and reported her to the authorities, believing that she might be under the influence of drugs. Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office was informed that Spencer was subjected to a search. She was found to be carrying heroin on school campus and placed under arrest. She was booked into the Whitfield County jail and was charged with possession of a schedule one controlled substance – a charge that was dropped as part of her plea agreement.
As investigators continued to probe into her belongings, they came across evidence that suggested that she was having a sexual relationship with her student and additional charges were added a day after she was arrested.
Spencer was hired by the school in 2013 and also worked as the assistant cheerleading coach and assistant girl’s track and field coach. Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Judy Gilreath said she was not aware of the details of the case to comment whether she agreed with the sentence given to Spencer. “But I do hope that she gets the treatment and help she needs,” Gilreath said.
In a similar case, Baylee Ashton Turner, 23, who taught English at Sarcoxie High School, Illinois, resigned after being arrested and charged for having sex with a student at her home, in February. The victim in the case also confirmed being involved in a physical relationship with the teacher. If convicted, Turner could face up to four years in prison.
In another instance, Gianna Bednarski, a former Brazosport High School teacher was charged with having an improper relationship with a student in February, after an investigation into her alleged sexual misconduct was launched in January following a referral by Child Protective Services. “After receiving information regarding a Brazosport High School teacher having an inappropriate relationship with a high school student, BISD police, administrators and local authorities began an investigation immediately and the teacher was placed on leave,” the Brazosport Independent School District said in a statement.