Baylee Turner, a former teacher in Jasper County, Mo. had sexual assault charges dropped after she married the student who she was accused of assaulting. The 26-year-old former teacher was accused in 2019. It is unclear when the couple got married.

The age of the former student has not been released and marriage documents do not list his identity.

According to reports, the charges were dropped in court because of marital/spousal privilege, which means that the student can’t be compelled to testify against Baylee Turner now that they are husband and wife. The law also says that any private conversations between spouses are confidential.

Cornell Law School says “The spousal testimonial privilege precludes one spouse from testifying against the other spouse in criminal or related proceedings. Either spouse can invoke the privilege to prevent the testimony.”

Assistant prosecutor Nate Dally told the media that because of marital privilege Turner’s case becomes difficult to prove in court and that was why her charges were dropped.

Before the charges were dropped, Baylee Turner was facing four years in prison. Missouri law prohibits sexual relations between students and anyone employed or volunteering with school districts, regardless of whether they were elected or given the position, and regardless of whether the student was above the legal age of consent.

Baylee Turner sexual assault charges
The sexual assault charges were dropped against former Missouri teacher Baylee Turner after she married the student that she was accused of assaulting. (Credit: Jasper County Sheriff’s Office)

Baylee Turner was accused of sexual assault back in Feb. 2019. She was in the middle of her first year of teaching English at Sarcoxie High School in Sarcoxie, Mo, when she was accused of having sex with a student at her home sometime between Jan. 14-21, 2019.

She later resigned from her position and the school board voted to have her teaching license revoked. Before teaching at the high school, the 26-year-old had previously taught at the local middle school for two years. She was arrested by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 13, 2019..

Turner later admitted to the sexual assault and the student, who was never named, acknowledged that they had sex at her home. After her arrest, her bond was set at $10,000 and according to court documents she was ordered to have no contact with anyone under 16.

At the time of her arrest, the Sarcoxie superintendent, Kevin Goddard, spoke about her resignation. He said, “In an emergency school board meeting on Monday, they accepted the resignation of Turner, and the school has asked the state to revoke her teaching license.” 

Goddard went on to say that the school was providing counseling for students and that there were no signs that Turner was having sexual relations with any other students. It is unclear how Sarcoxie High School became aware of the sexual assault.

Baylee Turner is one of six educators accused of sexual assault against a student in Missouri in recent years. According to The Joplin Globe, the other charges came from Joplin, Webb City, Monett, Diamond and McDonald County schools. Charges were either filed against teachers or student teachers.

A similar case happened in Washington State back in 1996. Mary Kay Letourneau was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old student. She pleaded guilty to the charges and spent seven years in prison. Letourneau also registered as a sex offender in her state. The former teacher then went on to marry her victim, Vili Fualaau, in 2005. The couple went on to have two children.

Fualaau filed for separation in 2017, and Letourneau later died from colon cancer in 2020.