Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sexual Predators? The Trials of Three Teachers

The trial of Jessica Heather DeFoor got underway in Morgan County on Monday. The 36 year-old DeFoor, a former second grade teacher at Danville-Neel Elementary School is charged with enticing a 14 year-old girl for immoral purposes.

During yesterday's testimony, it was revealed that DeFoor was dating
Zachary W. Mullins at the time of the alleged rape. The most startling revelation of the trial concerns the victim herself; the young woman is the sister of Mullins, now 22. The victim testified that after DeFoor and Mullins had sex, her brother then raped her repeatedly, starting a period of abuse that lasted 18 months.

When testimony resumes today, DeFoor's defense team is expected to argue the victim is attempting to lessen her brother's guilt by implicating the teacher, the victim's flag team sponsor. No matter the verdict in this trial, pending charges against Zachary W. Mullins are expected to be upgraded to first degree rape.


The Associated Press office in Montgomery has stated the Sheffield Board of Education has not been forthcoming with details concerning the arrest of Amanda Duboise Watkins, a former Sheffield Junior High teacher charged with rape.

Watkins' father is Delmer Duboise, a former Franklin County Board of Education member and one-time instructor at Northwest Community College. Sources suggest this may have influenced the Sheffield Board's stance on the rape and sodomy charges.

We can look for more from the AP office in Montgomery to be forthcoming in the next few weeks. In the mean time, all court proceedings for Watkins have been postponed until May.


Former Clements High School teacher Keith McGuire, formerly of Lexington, was acquitted of rape and sodomy charges last July; however, the Alabama Board of Education has still not ruled on the status of his teaching license.

McGuire's license was originally suspended pending the outcome of the Lauderdale Court case. Chief Administrative Law Judge Walter Turner was expected to rule on complaints that McGuire had fondled at least four students, the youngest 12; however, due to the delays requested by McGuire's lawyers, the trial was not held until after Judge Turner's retirement.

A second judge has been appointed to review the evidence in those cases, none of which has precipitated formal legal charges. Associated Press writer Jean Cole in Athens has stated the new judge should rule by the end of the month. It's our understanding that if the ruling is in favor of the State Board of Education, Keith McGuire would be allowed to appeal to Circuit Court.

For what it's worth: Just how hard is it for a teacher to keep his/her hands off a student? We hope every parent is involved in their child's education. No child or teenager should have to suffer at the hands of those who have promised to protect them.