CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A Shelby County jury has found a former Shelbyville High School teacher guilty of 17 out of charges in connection to her sexual relationship with a student.
Johanna Grace Vickers, 37,of San Augustine, is accused of three second-degree felony charges of improper relationship between an educator and student as well as two counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child.
Although Vickers pleaded guilty to the improper relationship between an educator and student charges, the jury had to decide her guilt or innocence in regard to the sexual assault of a child charge and indecency with a child.
At the time of the allegations, Vickers was an employee of Shelbyville ISD. She had previously been employed by Corrigan-Camden ISD.
According to an earlier press release, an investigation was started after Shelbyville ISD received phone calls on May 8, 2015 about the allegations. The district worked with the SCSO to start an investigation.
The alleged victim's phone was searched and they were able to recover deleted text messages that pointed to a sexual relationship. Vickers number was also saved under "sister." The press release continued stating the alleged victim told investigators the two of them had sexual encounters on two separate occasions in late March and early April of that year.
During the cross examination by Seth Johnson, Vickers' defense attorney, her victim said that he gained Vickers' trust and added that it happened naturally. The teen said he let his feelings be known by sending her a lot of sweet texts. He also gave her flowers.
The victim agreed that Vickers did not use her authority to coerce him into the sexual relationship. He said he did not feel manipulated by her.
The victim agreed that based on their positions during sexual encounters that he was the one who had to take action to cause penetration.
The victim said his birthday is in the summertime. When the first incident occurred, about three months away from turning 17.
While on the stand, the victim agreed that he and Vickers' relationship became public after his girlfriend found out about it.
Johnson asked the victim about his Twitter account and jokes being made about the situation at hand.
A Twitter follower tweeted, "What are your goals? F------ a white man's wife!"
The victim said he quoted the tweet and responded to it with "Xs" as in "don't do that."
He said he has to deal with this every day at school.
"It's just embarrassing," the victim said.
The teen said when he told Vickers he loved her, he meant it.
The victim agreed that Vickers was a great teacher who offered encouragement and help contacting coaches to go play basketball for.
The prosecutor asked the victim to read a text between him and Vickers.
"Come on over please. Vance is gone. Come take his seat," he read.
The victim agreed that at no time did Vickers ever tell him she was married with kids and that he shouldn't be coming on to her.
The victim said Vickers would pull her pants down and lay back in the passenger seat. She never said, "Don't do that."
The victim agreed that Vickers would put her arms around him and pull him closer during sex.
"What have you learned from this?" the prosecutor asked.
"A lot. I couldn't tell you word for word," the victim said.
Stephen Shires, the prosecutor on the case, made his closing argument. He said there is no reason that the jury should not deem Vickers guilty of every count she's charged with.
"What if this was your child, your grandchildren, your niece, or nephew?" he asked the jury.
Shires played a snippet of Vickers talking in a seductive manner on a video chat between her and the victim.
"You heard it from Mrs. Vickers," he said. "She gave him the green light."
The prosecutor said the defense's argument was ridiculous.
"Whether it be a 16-year-old or a 12-year-old, and a sexual predator said, 'Well, I didn't make them do that,' would you let that kind of person walk?"
Johnson then made his closing argument.
"This is not a case of sexual assault. This is not a case of child abuse," Johnson said.
Johnson said if the victim was 12, it would be different.
Johnson pointed out that during the sexual encounters, Vickers was on her back in a submissive position. He said she did not cause the victim to penetrate or touch her.
Johnson said Vickers' remorse was obvious.
Shires told the jury there was no evidence of remorse until she got caught.
"If a 16-year-old girl came to my house and wanted have sex with the measurements of Kate Upton, Marilyn Monroe, or Cindy Crawford, it's still my responsibility to say no," Shires said.