Teacher accused of sex act with student is sentenced
Published 9:35 am Thursday, September 28, 2017
Former Davie High English teacher Jessica Welch Greene was sentenced in Superior Court Monday on two charges of committing a sex act with a student. Two other similar charges were dismissed as part of the plea arrangement.
Represented by attorney Grady McClamrock Jr., Greene, 28, of Mocksville, appeared in court with her parents.
According to Assistant DA Rob Taylor, Greene and a 17-year-old male student were seen kissing in a parking lot at Davie High following a basketball game Nov. 29, 2016. Students told school resource officers the male student Greene was kissing told them he and Greene were having a relationship that included meals together and a trip to the movies.
When he was interviewed by law enforcement, the teen said he and Greene had had intercourse on at least three occasions, with one of those in her classroom. There were screenshots and text messages on his phone, which was seized by law enforcement Dec. 7, that were “sexual in nature,” Taylor said.
Greene, who was married and had a small child at the time, was “highly regarded by students at the high school,” and even taught his own child, Taylor told Judge Lori Hamilton. “But this is the type of case I’m seeing more and more. The individuals’ stupidity of constantly communicating … in a manner that involves phones … it’s ultimately what gets them caught.”
When she was interrogated, Greene initially “didn’t want to own up to it, but ultimately, in a very emotional state, she admitted to the relationship but adamantly denied there was intercourse. She said she performed oral sex on him twice and not on campus,” Taylor said.
His office reached out to the teen and his family, who did not have anything to add and were not in court.
“From the text messages, you can see he felt like this was a relationship and there would be some sort of relationship in the future,” said Taylor.
Taylor said in a phone conversation with Superintendent Darrin Hartness, the biggest concerns Hartness had were that Greene never be on any school campus and that she not communicate with staff. Hamilton asked if the superintendent or anyone from the school board was in the courtroom and Taylor said no.
McClamrock told the story of a girl who was born in Forsyth County, moved here at a young age and grew up in a community and a church that still supports her.
“From the day she started growing up, she became a role model. She was a leader, a babysitter, active in her youth group, a nanny, and everybody felt comfortable with her around their children,” he said.
But Greene changed.
The young woman who graduated from Salem College with a 3.8 grade point average got married in 2014 to a man who was found to have “serious drug and alcohol issues and was violent, using her as a punching bag and telling her she was ugly, stupid and worthless.”
She didn’t tell anyone what was happening and began losing weight, not managing her diabetes, and focused more and more on her students. McClamrock said as a new teacher, Greene was given some of the more difficult students, the more economically disadvantaged students, and as was in keeping with her nature, she wanted to help them, even taking a microwave to school to prepare food for them and buying books for them.
“She was trying to help the kids to be better people as was taught to her by her church and her parents. But she was suffering from postpartum depression. She was young, she was vulnerable and she was hurting. Her students told her they could relate and she confided in them, and it went from there,” McClamrock said, his voice breaking at times.
Greene, thin and crying, stood quietly beside him, wringing her hands, as McClamrock told Hamilton how hard it was to find a counselor who would take her on as a client, because of her charges, but how, after three months, one finally agreed. In a letter to the court, handed up with a stack of letters in support of her, the doctor said Greene was “very depressed, very unhappy, and was very unlikely to commit another similar offense. She has expressed powerful feelings of guilt and shame,” he wrote.
McClamrock told Hamilton no punishment she could dole out would be any worse than what Greene has already suffered, and said it was not right that the “young man went to school bragging about bagging a teacher” and was told by the school resources officers not to worry, that he wouldn’t be punished. “It’s not right for her to be nailed to the cross and nothing happens to him,” he said.
Hamilton said she recognizes the laws “cast a wide net and catch people that are not the original people who were intended” to be caught, but Greene was “endowed with a position of trust. Her real sin is the violation of the position of trust.”
The charges were Class G felonies, and Greene faced a minimum active sentence of eight to 31 months. Hamilton consolidated the charges and sentenced Greene to 13 to 25 months with any credit for time she spent in jail before she made bond. That was suspended for 36 months probation.
Greene must perform 100 hours of community service within six months and pay the fee for that, as well as submit a DNA sample, pay a fine of $500 and court costs.
She must register as a sex offender for the next 30 years and participate in and complete treatment for sex offenders. She is prohibited from being near the victim and cannot have any contact with him by any means, including third party contact.
Hamilton said if the victim attempts to contact her, she cannot respond and must report it immediately to her probation officer. She cannot reside in a household with anyone under the age of 18 except her own child, cannot attend any events such as football games or church or community functions or socialize with anyone under the age of 18.
“They are children, they are not her peers,” Hamilton said.
Greene must submit to warrantless searches of her phone and computer for the purpose of detecting pornography or any pictures that may have been sent to her by students. She was ordered to have no sexual behavior with anyone under age 18 and to continue her psychological counseling.
She must also surrender her teaching license.