Lawrence teacher charged with sex crimes

·2 min read

May 28—MOULTON — An R.A. Hubbard High School teacher is facing three felony charges after allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old and 16-year-old in her classroom, according to authorities.

Leslie Buttram Gillespie, 44, of Hillsboro, was charged Thursday with second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy and two counts of engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19, according to Lawrence County Sheriff Max Sanders.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Lawrence County District Court on Friday by Sgt. Wheeler Lovelady, the two teens said they met Gillespie in her classroom after school hours in September and had sex with her there.

Chief Deputy Tim Sandlin said Gillespie was arrested and brought into the jail by an investigator. She bonded out Thursday afternoon, Sandlin said.

Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett said the bond was set at $60,000.

"It's an active investigation, and more charges could be possible," Sandlin said.

Gillespie has been placed on administrative leave with pay by Lawrence County Schools, said Superintendent Jon Bret Smith.

In a written release, Sanders asked anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact the Sheriff's Office at 256-974-2500.

It is unknown if Gillespie has hired an attorney.

Jett said the rape and sodomy charges are Class B felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The two underage sex charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, he said.

Jett said Gillespie can ask for a preliminary hearing but with the case still under investigation it might be August before one will be held. "If she waives the hearing, the case will be bound over to a grand jury," Jett said.

Smith said school system 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."

He said placing an employee on administrative leave is standard procedure "when allegations and investigations like this occur."

Alabama Education Association District 4 UniServe Director Tracy Moore did not return a phone call Friday.

According to the Lawrence County Schools website, Gillespie is an English teacher at R.A. Hubbard High School in North Courtland. In December 2019, her first year at the school, she was named the school's teacher of the year for 2019-2020. She is listed as the eighth grade cheerleader sponsor for the Chiefs.

In August 2019, school board minutes show she transferred to R.A. Hubbard from Hazlewood Elementary School in Town Creek.

mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.