Source: KTRE Staff
Editor's Note: There is some graphic sexual language in this story.
Shortly before her jury trial was set to get underway Wednesday, a former Shelbyville ISD accused of having an improper sexual relationship with a male high school student pleaded guilty.
A Shelby County grand jury indicted Johanna Vickers, a San Augustine resident on three felony counts of sexual assault of a child.
Vickers (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Vickers, a San Augustine resident, is accused of two second-degree felony charges of improper relationship between an educator and student as well as sexual assault of a child. Although Vickers pleaded guilty to the improper relationship between an educator and student charges, the jury will decide her guilt or innocence in regard to the sexual assault of a child charge.
At the time of of the allegations, Vickers was an employee of Shelbyville ISD. She had previously been employed by Corrigan-Camden ISD.
According to an earlier press release, an investigation was started after Shelbyville ISD received phone calls on May 8, 2015 about the allegations. The district worked with the SCSO to start an investigation.
The alleged victim’s phone was searched and they were able to recover deleted text messages that pointed to a sexual relationship. Vickers number was also saved under “sister.” The press release continued stating the alleged victim told investigators the two of them had sexual encounters on two separate occasions in late March and early April of that year.
In opening statements, state prosecutor Stephen Shires told the jury this is a very important case for the Shelbyville community and school as well as the entire county. Shires notified the jury that Vickers’ three cases with six counts each have been consolidated to one case.
Shires said on or about March 28, 2015, Vickers did cause the victim, who was younger than 17 years of age at the time, to have sexual penetration and oral sex. Shires also said on that same date, Vickers caused the victim to touch her breasts.
“It is my burden to prove this,” Shires said.
Shires told the jury that Vickers pleaded guilty to counts 4 to 6, which were improper relationship between an educator and student.
“You are going to hear the victim sit up here and say Vickers performed oral sex on the victim and that they had sex,” Shires said. “I am going to show you evidence where Vickers admitted to all that.”
Shires explained there are nine counts.
“Each case is the same,” Shires said. “The only difference is the date of the alleged acts. The evidence is going to show Vickers was a 36-year-old married woman with three children in the Shelbyville District. The evidence is going to show the victim was a 16 year-old at Shelbyville High School.”
Shires said the evidence will show that Vickers was a teacher for the victim and that the two had a relationship outside of the class room. He added that on at least three occasions, Vickers had sex with the victim in her car at the Ragtown Park in southern Shelby County.
“Mr. Johnson and the defense is going to say the victim initiated this and tried to have a relationship with Vickers,” Shires said. “Let me tell you something. I think the facts are going to show he initiated the affair. I think the facts will show he made the first move. I want you to think about this. Assuming that is true, whose responsibility is it to say no? A 16 year-old boy with raging hormones or a 36-year old married teacher? Who says no? If you have a kid that feels that way for you, why be alone with him outside of school?”
Shires made a plea to the jury that just because a student had feelings for a teacher it does not excuse Vickers from how she acted.
Defense attorney Seth Johnson then approached the jury for his statement.
Johnson said Vickers did not sexually assault the victim.
“I am going to show you in the simplest terms why she pleaded guilty to the improper relationship, but not for the sexual assault or indecency with a child,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the improper relationship was true because the statuses of the two were right and it did happen.
“She plead guilty voluntarily,” Johnson said. “Counts 1, 2, and 3, the charges she all plead not guilty to, have one thing in common.”
Johnson said that one thing was that the counts said she caused it. Johnson said she pleaded guilty on the other ones because she engaged.
“Consent is not a defense,” Johnson said. “Causation is a legal defense. The facts are pretty simple and we are not in disagreement of what happened. In count 1, Vickers had to cause the victim’s sexual organ to penetrate her. The evidence is going to show Vickers was on her back in a submissive position.”
Johnson said the evidence will show the victim pursued Vickers for over a month and he was physically mature.
Judd Matthews, a Shelbyville ISD police officer, took the stand first. Matthews said Vickers became employed by the district in 2012 and was no longer a teacher in 2015.
Matthews said he knows Vickers’ family, including her husband, a coach in the district. Matthews said he is also familiar with the victim.
“Last year around May 11, I was contacted by administration about an incident that happened,” Matthews said. “I was called into investigate.”
Matthews said he talked to Vickers and brought up the allegations, and she denied them.
“She also signed off on a document that would let me have her cell phone,” Matthews said. “She said she forgot it and would have to get it. It was about two or three hours until I got it at lunch.”
Matthews said he didn’t see anything right away that stuck out so he turned it over to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
“I released her and she went back to her class,” Matthews said. “I then called the victim down and asked for his cell phone.”
Matthews said he knew Vickers number, so he typed it in the phone and it came up as “sister”
Matthews said the allegations were brought up on a Monday after Vickers and another student had an altercation in the hallway on the Friday before.
Child Abuse Investigator Chad Brown with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said he was approached by Matthews at the sheriff’s office.
“He said he was conducting an administrative investigation at the school and asked if I would take over any criminal investigations,” Brown said.
Brown said he was given the phone of the victim and used a device to get data off the phone.
“It took a day to extract the data because it was so large,” Brown said. “It took another day to decode it through another program. It was about two days later when I was able to review the data.”
Brown said the data was stored on his computer and also on a thumb drive. Brown said it was on a local drive on his computer and not on a server. Brown said no one has been able to get to the data on his computer since he downloaded it.
Shires would then present evidence that was a print out of text messages between the victim and Vickers. The print out has Vicker’s number shown as “sister”
Brown read several text messages where Vickers and the victim used the words “I Love you” and where Vickers at one point asked to be his mistress. Brown said over 300 phone events took place between the two as well as several other messages on social media that had been deleted.
Brown said on May 7 the victim wrote Vickers and said, “What are you going to tell Vince about those flowers?” Brown said Vickers then said she would tell Vince that they were from her black lover.
Brown said the victim later responded with, “You have my heart.”
Brown said the next morning, Vickers sent a message to the victim that said “Good morning baby” and another one that said, “I need you in my arms” and then the victim said, “I need to be there too.”After lunch, Brown was shown another set of text messages.
Brown read the exchange with the victim saying “WYD?” and a response from Vickers that said, “Looking at my baby. I’m at the fish tank. Do you want food? I have money.” He said “no” and “no.” She said, “Vince is gone.”
Brown said the messages concluded with an “I love you” comment from both of them.
Looking at his report, Brown said after he got the information from the phone he went to Shelbyville High School and talked to a student that was the victim’s girlfriend. Brown said after that he spoke with the victim.
“I tried to get a hold of the victim’s mom from the school, but I could not and I needed to meet with them in a more formal setting, so I got the victim and we went to the Sherriff’s office,” Brown said.
Brown said the two looked at the victim’s Facebook account.
“I got from his Facebook, we were trying to narrow down if anything happened, dates,” Brown said.
Brown said at that point he felt like he had enough to get warrants for Vickers’ arrest under two charges of improper relationship between an educator and student as well as sexual assault. Brown said before this, he had never met Vickers.
“I was unable to contact Vickers to make an arrest, so I talked to officer Matthews and he was able to get a hold of her and tell her she was needed at the sheriff’s office,” Brown said.
Brown continued and said Vickers came to the office with her husband and they did not know why she was asked to go there. Brown said Vickers agreed to sit down and have an interview with him. Brown said in the interview, Vickers admitted to him that she had sexual intercourse and oral sex with the victim.
In her recorded interview with Brown, Vickers said she got two messages from the victim. The first said, “My day is going good” the second said “I spoke too soon.”
Vickers said the victim got her number after a basketball game, and they started talking. On another occasion, she said after a game, he grabbed her hand and kissed it.
Vickers said after that, they had sex in her car. Vickers told Brown they were in the car because the victim had asked to just ride around. Vickers continued and said there was another girl in the car, but they dropped her off before going to Ragtown Park. Vickers said it started in the front seat, and they were kissing. Then it led to groping.
Vickers said she thought she performed oral sex on him but he didn’t on her. She said they had sex less than five times and each time it was at Ragtown Park.