The former Susan Moore High School teacher charged with transmitting obscene material to a minor pleaded guilty to the crime on Monday and was booked into the Blount County Correctional Facility, according to Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey.
Crystal Gilliland Clowdus, 32, received a 10-year sentence, but nine of those will be suspended. Authorities say she sent sexually explicit text messages and photos to a 15-year-old male student.
Clowdus will serve six months in jail followed by six months of house arrest. After being released from house arrest, she will be under a five-year probationary period and will be required to register as a lifetime sex offender. In addition, she will forfeit her teaching certificate in the state of Alabama, Casey said.
On Dec. 20, 2013, Clowdus was arrested and placed in the Blount County Correctional Facility, and was later released on a $100,000 bond. She entered her plea agreement on Dec. 23, 2013, but the judge recused himself, and the case has been stalled while waiting for another judge to be appointed.
“The Susan Moore community has been hit hard recently,” Casey said. “As a graduate of Susan Moore High School, it holds a place in my heart, and I want to make it clear, according to our investigation, there was no physical contact between the teacher and the student. It’s frustrating because rumors go around the Internet and the community that are not true.”
Casey said the victim’s family is aware and satisfied with the outcome of the plea bargain.
“(Clowdus) has accepted responsibility for her actions and there’s a lot to be said about that,” Casey said.
Another allegation stemmed from the case. After the initial arrest, Casey asked the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) to look into why school officials did not report the incident to law enforcement immediately.
The principal was allegedly aware of the incidents some three weeks prior to the parents, according to Casey.
The ABI investigation is ongoing, Casey said. She also said this isn’t the first time schools have attempted to do investigations such as this in-house.
“I believe there are other situations that haven’t been reported and they are being looked into,” Casey said.
Unreported cases sometimes include school officials not reporting the incident, but asking the teacher to leave the school which follows with the teacher going to another school.
“That’s setting it up for another student to be a victim,” Casey said. “Our job is to protect the children.” Other teacher charged
In a separate case, Susan Moore teacher and coach Warren Kelley, 42, was placed on administrative leave after being accused of inappropriately touching an eighth-grade girl. On Monday, Casey stated his trial date was set for March 17, however, Kelley’s attorney, James Berry, said he received an email from the district attorney on Tuesday morning saying she had requested the judge to issue a continuance on the case and reset the date. According to Berry, Kelley has been charged with two crimes, both of those being misdemeanors, and the complaints were taken out by a family member of the victim.