Ex-Alabama high school 'Teacher of the Year' accused of rape, sodomy of students

lawrence county
Source: Lawrece County Sheriff

May. 30 2021, Updated 9:24 p.m. ET

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Update: May 30- News 19 in Alabama reports the suspect has died after being arrested from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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A former Alabama high school teacher once voted Teacher of the Year is accused of sexually assaulting students.

Leslie Buttram Gillespie, 44, of Hillsboro was charged with second-degree counts of rape and sodomy. She was also charged with two counts of being a school employee engaging in sex with a student, according to WAAY TV.

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Gillespie, who taught English at RA Hubbard High School in Lawrence County and was voted Teacher of the Year in 2019, has been put on administrative leave.

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Court records state a 15-year-old and 16-year-old went to Gillespie's classroom after hours in September 2020, according to WAAY TV. That's where the alleged crimes are said to have occurred.

“The Lawrence County school district has been made aware that an employee has been arrested. Our school district treats this type of situation with the highest level of care. District leaders are conducting an investigation into this matter and will support law enforcement as they do the same. While the district cannot provide any specific details at this time, we want to emphasize that there is nothing more important to Lawrence County Schools than the safety and well-being of our students. The district will work diligently and expediently to resolve this situation,” Lawrence County Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said in a statement.

Gillespie was released on $60,000 bond on May 27.

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