MARIES COUNTY, Mo. – A special education teacher at a middle school in Missouri faces a slew of criminal charges over an alleged illicit relationship she pursued with a 16-year-old male student.
Rikki Lynn Laughlin, 25, is facing charges that include one count each of possession of child pornography, tampering with a witness, tampering with physical evidence, attempted statutory rape in the second degree, promoting obscenity in the first degree, and furnishing pornographic materials to a minor, according to authorities.
The Maries County Sheriff’s Office said the illicit relationship was primarily created by Laughlin pursuing the student while the teen hesitated and made excuses to avoid sexual activity with her, Law&Crime reported.
According to court documents reviewed KRCG 13 News, deputies with the Maries County Sheriff’s Office were contacted by detectives with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 19 regarding the alleged crimes.
Phelps County first received a tip alleging sexual contact between a teacher and a student at St. James R-1 High School, which is located about 90 minutes southwest of St. Louis.
The investigation was launched and detectives determined that Laughlin contacted the 16-year-old male student via Snapchat once the school year was underway. Not long after, the teacher kissed the student in a classroom, according to authorities.
The boy said “things progressed fast” after that classroom kiss, detectives wrote in the affidavit of probable cause obtained by the River Front Times.
The teacher sent nude pictures and a video of herself using a dildo. She also requested nude images from him, the student told detectives.
The student provided the teacher with the photos she requested, according to authorities.
However, not long after, Laughlin reportedly told the student that people at the school were beginning to gossip about the relationship.
Therefore, she asked him to delete the steamy content she electronically delivered to him since it was incriminating and she could go to jail.
The teen said he deleted some content but showed detectives other photos that he kept, officials said.
On Oct. 14, Laughlin’s husband was out of town and she reportedly invited the student to her home so they could engage in sex.
The boy “made excuses for not meeting with Laughlin because he did not feel comfortable,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.
Once detectives interviewed the student, they confronted Laughlin with the allegations, reported Law&Crime
“I was not aware he was a minor until yesterday,” she allegedly told investigators when quizzed about her conduct.
Laughlin apparently did not shy away from what transpired between her and the student, but claimed the boy initiated the illicit contact, according to investigators.
When detectives searched the woman’s cell phone, they found three videos similar in content as described earlier by the student.
The school placed Laughlin on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to KMOV.
“The District takes these matters seriously and reported allegations to appropriate outside agencies, including law enforcement,” St. James R-1 School District Superintendent Tim Webster said in a statement. “We have been actively cooperating with these agencies since the initial report.”
Laughlin was arrested last Friday. Her bond was set at $100,000 and she is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 20.