January 20, 2013

Leah Shipman - Former Teacher - Escapes Charges For Having Sex With Student By Marrying Alleged Victim

Brunswick County, NC (The Weekly Vice) - Leah Shipman, a 42-year-old former Brunswick County teacher that faced charges for having sex with a 15-year-old student, has beaten the rap by marrying her victim.

According to court documents, Shipman was arrested in 2009 after she engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. She was immediately suspended from her job and charged with sexual offense with a student, statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a student.

On January 19 2011, Shipman divorced her husband of 19 years and married her alleged victim 6 days later.  The student, now identified as Johnnie Ray Ison, was 17 years old at the time of the marriage. His mother assisted by signing paperwork that allowed her minor son to marry Shipman.

To resolve the case in its entirety, Shipman pleaded guilty to a single count of resisting a public officer in late December.

The county prosecutor's office says that Shipman was offered the plea agreement because although the alleged victim provided investigators with information about the sexual relationship back in 2009, those admissions would no longer be admissible in court since a husband cannot be compelled to testify against his wife.

Without the alleged victim's testimony, statements made in court about the alleged relationship are considered hearsay evidence and not admissible except in certain circumstances, according to prosecutors.

Shipman was facing up to 15 years in prison prior to the plea agreement.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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