Thursday, March 01, 2007

TOPIC: Yet Another Teacher Caught Were Her Pants Down
Teacher accused of sexually abusing students
An upstate middle school teacher is accused of sexually abusing several students. Allenna Williams Ward was a teacher at Bell Street Middle School in Laurens County, South Carolina. Administrators became aware of Ward's alleged activities when notes between her and students surfaced at the school. On and off for the past year, Clinton police say Allenna Ward has been having sexual relations with five young boys.
Ward was an English teacher at Bell Street Middle School in Clinton, and all of her alleged victims are students. One eighth grader we spoke to told us this was the first he had heard about it. Marctavious Hill said, "It was shocking to me that a teacher would do that at our school, it's very surprising."
In a press conference Wednesday, Chief of Clinton Police John Thomas told reporters he is also shocked and dismayed. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families. It's very disturbing that this kind of thing is going on," said Thomas. According to police, Ward sexually abused the boys in various places throughout Clinton, SC:
  • the Bell Street Middle School
  • in a parked car
  • the Clinton Motel
  • behind the Clock Restaurant
  • the Laurens City Park
Chief Thomas said, "There could be more victims, more arrests, right now we don't know." We went to Ward's home to hear what her husband has to say about his wife's alleged actions. There we were met by her father-in-law who seemed very upset. FOX Carolina's Lidia St. Mark asked him, "Are you shocked about all of this?" He replied, "I'd like for you to leave please."
In an emergency school board meeting, board members voted unanimously to fire Ward. Superintendent Dr. Laura Koskela said, "It's overwhelming for all of us, it's just so sad so many regrets that we have for our community."
Ward has 11 charges against her ranging from criminal sexual conduct with a minor to performing a lewd act on a minor (IOW, she performed oral sex at least six times on one or more of the boys). If convicted and she receives the maximum sentence, she could spend the rest of her life behind bars. Ward is being held on a $110,000 bond. [End of article]

This story is being reported everywhere from CNN to Kansas City Crime blogs, to the Boston Herald. Warrants show Ward is charged with five counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and six counts of lewd acts on a minor. The incidents occurred between December and earlier this month. Ward's attorney, Donald Hocker, didn't want to talk about the case Thursday, according to a woman who answered the phone at his office.
The ordeal started for Mrs. Ward when a note was found (last week) by several students who felt it was inappropriate and turned it over to Bell Street Middle School principal Maureen Tiller.
Tiller turned the note over to the school district office, where officials contacted police, Koskela said. Clinton Public Safety Director John Thomas, who was involved in the local investigation, decided to contact SLED. "Teachers are supposed to be role models as well as being those people who take care of and protect our children," Thomas said. Ward was placed on administrative leave with pay last week and fired after an emergency school board meeting Wednesday, officials said. At the onset of the investigation, Ward sent a text message to one of her victims' cell phone (though we do not know the content of that message).
Last year, an elementary school teacher in school district neighboring Clinton was charged with having sex with an 11-year-old male student. A trial date for Wendie A. Schweikert has not yet been scheduled.
Clinton, SC, a town of about 10,000 people, is about 60 miles northwest of the state capital, Columbia. Allenna Ward's teacher webpage on the Laurens County School System's website has been removed, as her phone extension (#4010). Her picture is also gone from the site. I was able to dig a little and found the following information:
Allenna Williams Ward
is a 2001 graduate of Clinton High School and a 2005 graduate of Presbyterian College with a Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education . She taught 7th grade Language Arts. Allena's school email address was I seriously doubt any email sent to this address will be answered, but they will likely be read by the police. ;-) BTW, she and her husband live on Compton Road in Clinton -- very near other Ward family members.


Anonymous said...

Is there a different standard for men than for women? Will she be excused more easily by the majority than a male teacher would be if nothing more than the genders were reversed in this scenario? Do you personally feel less shocked by a woman suspect than a male suspect? Is that fair?

Anonymous said...

Great detective work. I am from Clinton and know where Compton Road is. Did you find out what her father's name is? I have read on that he is a minister and a very active religious family.

Anonymous said...

In answer to "anonymous" questions:
Q. Is there a different standard for men than for women?
A. There may be a culturally mandated difference, but my opinion is NO, there shouldn't be any difference. A child molester is a child molester.

Q. Will she be excused more easily by the majority than a male teacher would be if nothing more than the genders were reversed in this scenario?
A. Absolutely. A man preying on young girls is scene as a major threat to society. However, a woman in the same role will be seen as "hot" by many -- especially the young horny male population. Just read the headlines for stories on each side of the gender gap and you'll see what I mean.

Q. Do you personally feel less shocked by a woman suspect than a male suspect? Is that fair?
A. No, I am outraged anytime the purity and innocence of a child is taken away by a predatory adult. Sex is intended for the marriage relationship and NONE other. The teacher/student role is NOT to be a social role, but one of authority and education. Stepping across that line should be strictly forbidden in our society.

Anonymous said...

Just found this site and wanted to make a comment. There have been several "incidents" in this area recently. Mrs. Ward was charged with 6 counts criminal sexual conduct with a minor and 5 counts lewd act on a minor. Her bond was set at $110,000. There was a case in Greenwood, SC where a guy was charged with 1 count criminal sexual conduct. His bond was set at $750,000. Is is because he is a man, or is is because her victims were africian-american and his was white? Makes one wonder doesn't it?