Former teacher arrested on 3-count indictment
by David Atchison
Feb 24, 2012 | 2187 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY – A former teacher turned herself over to authorities Thursday after she was indicted for rape, sodomy and enticing a child for immoral purposes.

Former Williams Intermediate School teacher Heather Rich Whitten, 38, of Pell City was arrested Thursday on a three-count indictment.

Whitten was indicted for second-degree rape after she allegedly had sexual intercourse with a juvenile male who was younger than 16 but older than 12. She was also indicted for sodomy and for enticing a child for immoral purposes.

“Whitten … did unlawfully and feloniously, with lascivious intent, entice, allure, persuade or invite or attempt to entice, allure, persuade or invite a child under the age of 16 years, to enter a vehicle, room, house, office or other place for the purpose of proposing to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse, or an act which constitutes the offense of sodomy …” the grand jury indictment states.

Whitten was released from the St. Clair County Jail in Pell City shortly after her arrest Thursday, posting a $15,000 bond.

St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said Whitten is expected to appear before Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill for her April 24 arraignment.

Minor said at the arraignment Hill will formally advise Whitten of the charges against her.

“I would anticipate the judge will set a trial date,” Minor said Thursday.

Whitten was initially arrested Feb. 3, and charged with second-degree rape.

Whitten was suspended without pay shortly after her arrest, and turned in her resignation three days after her initial arrest.

“Mrs. Whitten was a dedicated teacher and regrets that these charges have impacted her co-workers and her students, and her resignation is best for all involved at the present time,” her attorney, Erskine Funderburg, said in a written statement released shortly after the teacher resigned from the Pell City School System.

Board of Education members officially accepted Whitten’s resignation a week later at a scheduled board meeting.

“None of the allegations against her have any connection to a school or the School System. …” Funderburg said.

According to the Williams Intermediate School website, Whitten was a fifth-grade reading and language arts teacher.

Prior to teaching at Williams Intermediate School, she taught fourth-grade at Eden Elementary School for three years.

“Obviously these are serious charges, and the proper place to address them is in court,” Funderburg wrote in his statement. “Therefore, we will have no further public comment on this matter.”

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

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