A former Bethel High School teacher who is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student last summer has pleaded not guilty and is now scheduled for court in April.
Wendy L. Hickman, 40, of Shawnee, was charged last summer in Pottawatomie County District Court.
Hickman pleaded not guilty during her arraignment in this week’s felony docket and her case is now set for the pre-trial disposition docket on April 30. Hickman had previously waived her right to a preliminary hearing in the case.
She is charged 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 involved in the case. 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 fall, resigned Aug. 21 and was arrested the following day. She remains out of jail on $15,000 bond.
According to the court filing, 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.
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.
According to prosecutors, the law says a student can't consent to a relationship with a teacher.
The investigation into this case was launched when a Bethel teen and his mother went to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office to make a 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.