North Carolina Teacher Avoids Rape Charges By Marrying Student

teacher_244x183In Bolivia, North Carolina, former teacher Leah Gayle Shipman, 42, was spared a criminal trial on statutory rape of a student on a rather novel ground: she married the student. Shipman married Johnnie Ray Ison, 17, after divorcing her husband of 19 years. Ison married with the consent of his mother.

Shipman divorced her husband six days before marrying Ison. Under North Carolina law, a spouse cannot be compelled to testify against his or her partner in a criminal case.

Shipman was originally charged with sexual offense with a student, statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a student.

Shipman pleaded guilty last month to resisting an officer and was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence.

In 2009, the North Carolina Supreme Court limited the privilege to exclude conversations in public — even when no one else was present to hear the conversation. However, in this case, the prosecutors concluded that the key evidence supporting the charges could not be admitted. That is an interesting twist since presumably those statements were made before they were married but would have to be attested to on the stand. Presumably however she will have to stay married for the duration of the statute of limitations on the crime since a divorce could still result in her former students being called as a witness. In North Carolina, there is no statute of limitations on felonies so I expect that there will be a lot of pressure by one party to make this marriage work.

Source: CBS

24 thoughts on “North Carolina Teacher Avoids Rape Charges By Marrying Student”

  1. So, let me get this right. A 17 year old male gets laid by an adult female. Not some male priest, dorky Congressman, or fellow inmate. Someone thinks it is a crime for the adult female to introduce the 17 year old to the finer things in life? Then, she marries him. Now some of you are criticizing his mom for letting him get married to the lady. Maybe he is doing the right thing. Every 17 year old, hell 13 year old, male in America needs to get laid by a nice female. An adult is better than a fellow teen. A hooker is not a bad thing either. What is wrong with you people?

  2. And somewhere in the distance, the plaintive twang of banjos . . .


    I so have a thing for both Galadriel and Cate. Me-ow!

  3. Male teacher 42. Female student 17. Mother consents to marriage so he avoids a rape charge. How would that go over? I envision Atty. Gloria Allred involved somehow and lots of shrieking from the feminists.

  4. John
    1, January 23, 2013 at 9:19 am
    Why have a law that punishes for something, that from the look of it, everyone was ok with?
    because the law is supposed to protect people in incidents where there is an innate imbalance of power (protecting the PEOPLE not the power…., that is….)….in this case, he is quite literally screwed, no matter the outcome. I suspect the decision did not come easy to anyone involved but that woman should definitely not be teaching. I hope people glean a better sense of what really good teachers are worth when they read this crap…..

  5. John 1, January 23, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Why have a law that punishes for something, that from the look of it, everyone was ok with?
    Because they can?

  6. So, is the marriage a sham to preempt the prosecution? That’s a hellava bullet to take if you’re the 17 y/o. But, if he’s willing to go that far in protecting Shipman, I have to wonder whether the prosecution was a good idea in the first place.

  7. Why have a law that punishes for something, that from the look of it, everyone was ok with?

  8. Prosecutor was pressuring girlfriend to testify against boyfriend about a confession boyfriend made concerning an criminal matter not involving girlfriend. Couple claimed common law marriage and thus anything said during the marriage was privileged. Prosecutor said prove it. The couple divorced. End of criminal case.

  9. She better hope she stays married….. There are some backwater statutes that I’ve read that hold a minor to being akin to a disability for one year and one day after the disability ends……. Hmmmmm….. But hey….. Now, we he hears…Johnny where’s you old lady….. He might be confused….. Momma or momma wife…..


    I’m with you…..

  10. There is no statute of limitations for felonies in North Carolina, so she’s with him for life. Have fun y’all.

  11. Is North Carolina in the Bible Belt? In the Old Testament, the punishment for the rape of an unmarried (and not engaged) woman was either pay 200 zuzim to her father or marry her, I believe. In the case of this teacher, I wonder if there were any zuzim involved.

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