A former Bethel High School teacher arrested last month is now charged with three felony counts, including second-degree rape, after being accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student.
Wendy L. Hickman, 40, of Shawnee, was charged Thursday in Pottawatomie County District Court. Out of jail on bond, she made a brief court appearance Thursday as charges were announced.
District Attorney Richard Smothermon has charged Hickman with second-degree rape and forcible sodomy as well as soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology for text messages allegedly sent to the teen.
If convicted of all counts, Hickman could face up to 45 years in prison.
Hickman, who was beginning her third year as a freshman English teacher last month, resigned Aug. 21 and was arrested in the case the following day.
According to the information filed Thursday, Hickman is charged with second-degree rape and is accused of having sexual intercourse with the 16-year-old Bethel High School student on or about July 28, at which time Hickman was age 40 and an employee of Bethel High School.
On the charge of forcible sodomy, she is accused of engaging in oral sodomy with the same student on or about July 28, the charge reads.
In the count of soliciting sexual conduct by use of technology, Hickman is accused, between May 1 and Aug. 21, of facilitating, encouraging, offering or soliciting sexual conduct or engaging in communication with the same teen, who is a minor, by use of a cell phone and by sending sexually explicit photographs of herself to that teen for the purpose of instigating sexual contact, the charge reads.
Smothermon, who has filed charges in three teacher-involved cases in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties this past year, said the law says a student can't consent to a relationship with a teacher.
"Teachers have such a dramatic influence on their students," Smothermon said, adding teachers can't use that influence for a sexual interest or "abusing a position of trust."
"They need to be a role model and not a sex symbol," Smothermon said.
Deputies arrested Hickman at her home Aug. 22 after a search warrant was served. The investigation was launched the day before when a Bethel teen and his mother went to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office to make a report for sexual assault. In that report, the teen told detectives he had sex with his high school teacher at his home sometime at the end of July, the arrest affidavit shows. He also reported it happened just one time.
According to court documents, Hickman was the teen's English teacher during the 2011-12 school year.
The teen also reported that Hickman had been sending him text messages and nude pictures of herself from her cell phone, so authorities retrieved one of those images. The nude person in that image, whose face also was visible, was later identified as Hickman, the warrant reads.
Page 2 of 2 - Hickman's next court date is scheduled in October.
Watch for updates.