A former Madison County teacher who's facing multiple sex charges is out of jail on bond. Lyndsey Bates, 22, turned herself in on Friday after the Madison County Sheriff's Office put out warrants for her arrest.
According to Bates' Facebook page, she started as an inclusion teacher and volleyball coach at Madison County High School for the 2018-2019 school year. The sheriff's office said she is related to Chief Deputy Stacy Bates by marriage, and her Facebook page shows he is her father-in-law.
Tim Douthit, Madison County Assistant District Attorney, said if Lyndsey Bates is convicted of the crimes, she'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life and could spend up to 20 years in prison.
"We are seeing it more and more often in the age of social media. It's much easier to blur the lines between what used to be an authority figure versus I'm a student," he said.
Bates is currently charged with three counts of distributing obscene material to a student, school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 and school employee having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19.
Douthit can't share specific details about the case against Bates, but he said those charges mean authorities believe she engaged in sexual intercourse, sex acts and has distributed some form of pornography to at least one student.
However, Bates isn't charged with rape, which Douthit said means the student(s) were old enough to consent and did consent, but the law in Alabama still makes whatever happened illegal since she was a school employee.
"Under the school teacher rules, consent is not a defense even if everything is consensual, it's still a crime," he said.
The sheriff's office hasn't released how many students Bates is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with, but Douthit said as a parent, he hopes teachers know better.
"Children and teenagers are going to do dumb things. I expect your job as a teacher is to try to talk them out of it or at least not become complicit in what they're doing," he said.
We've requested Bates personnel file from the school district. As of Monday evening, we are still waiting to hear back about our request.