A former Seymour High School teacher that has been charged with statutory rape for having sexual relations with an under aged student in 2004, was denied a petition for pre-trial diversion at her hearing on Tuesday. Thirty-two-year-old Kristi Dance Oakes was set for trial in June.
According to court documents, Oakes admitted to performing oral sex on the child in a statement and also in a confession to the boy’s mother following the June 2004 incident.
Pretrial diversion is a program to aid certain qualified defendants by diverting them from court proceedings upon successful completion of the program, giving them a clean-slate following a probationary period.
The decision whether or not to grant pretrial diversion lies with the district attorney general. The request was denied upon first consideration by District Attorney General Al Schmutzer, Jr.
Reasons cited for the denial were based on “the defendant’s role as an authority figure to the victim, the disparity in ages between the defendant and the victim, and the defendant’s occupation in a ‘position of confidence and trust in the community.’”
Afterwards, Oakes sought an interlocutory review in the Court of Criminal Appeals. That court did find favor with Oakes’ request ordering the DA’s Office to reconsider the bid for pre-trial diversion saying that “we find no indication in the prosecutor’s response (the DA) that he considered all of the mandated factors, and we note that the defendant’s apparently good prospects for rehabilitation, lack of a criminal record, and her excellent social history support her bid for pretrial diversion.”
Oakes will return to court in June for trial. Oakes was married and taught biology at Seymour High School at the time of the incident. The defendant was 16-years-old at the time. The two were sharing rides to and from work while they were both working at an amusement park in Pigeon Forge that summer.