With only five weeks until the end of the 2016-2017 school year, first-year teacher Samantha J. Fitzpatrick resigned from her position in May as an English teacher at Ripon High School in Wisconsin.
As the Ripon Commonwealth Press reported, Fitzpatrick’s resignation came after rumors began to swirl that she was having a relationship with one of her students.
— Rumor Bus (@RumorBus) December 7, 2017
The student in question was 16 years old when the alleged affair began. He is now 17.
The reported affair, which included both “sexting and intercourse,” lasted roughly six months and was brought to light after “a third party notified the police of the rumors.”
According to the Commonwealth Press, those who knew both Fitzpatrick and the student became skeptical of their seemingly close relationship when a teacher began noticing that the student was spending a lot of time with Fitzpatrick:
That teacher said she “started noticing Victim A in Fitzpatrick’s classroom a lot. [The teacher] stated that … when Victim A would be in class Victim A would sit next to Fitzpatrick at her desk and she would be talking to him instead of teaching the class.
[The teacher] said that late in October a student came to her and reported that someone told her that Victim A had gone to a party at a hotel in Oshkosh and he had arrived at the party late. Victim A told a student that the reason he arrived to the party late was because he was at Fitzpatrick’s and he just had sex with her.”
The teacher also alleged that Fitzpatrick and the student would often be absent from school on the same days.
Upon learning about the alleged sexual relationship, the teacher confronted Fitzpatrick, who scoffed at the accusations.
Fitzpatrick then told the teacher:
“I could see how they would say this.”
Eventually, the police began investigating the claims against Fitzpatrick. According to Ripon Police Capt. Bill Wallner, they have gained access to conversations between the teacher and the student via Facebook Messenger that point to their relationship being sexual in nature.
The criminal complaint states:
Wallner noted that communications were reviewed between November 2016 through May 2017. Captain Wallner observed sexually graphic messages between Fitzpatrick and Victim A which discussed sexual role playing [and more].
Fitzpatrick has been charged with child enticement, sexual assault of a student by school staff, exposing a child to harmful materials, and obstructing an officer.
However, both Fitzpatrick and the student have denied the relationship and rumors that any inappropriate contact was made.
If convicted of all the charges against her, Fitzpatrick could be facing up to 35 years in prison.
The 28-year-old’s next court date is scheduled for January 5.