Official: teacher, student had affair
A math teacher at Vina High School was arrested on Thursday after authorities discovered she has been involved in a sexual relationship with one of her students.
Kimberly Dawn Bynum, 29, 100 Regency Plaza, Apt. E5, Russellville, was arrested and charged with being a school employee engaging in a sexual act with a student under the age of 19, which is a Class B felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison if convicted.
According to authorities, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of the allegations after rumors began to circulate in the Vina community.
After questioning the 17-year-old senior from Vina, who admitted to the relationship, investigators questioned Bynum when she voluntarily came in for questioning.
Bynum admitted to the relationship during questioning, authorities said.
During the investigation, officers discovered Bynum had become friends with the student towards the end of the school year, but investigators said the friendship eventually turned into a sexual relationship.
Investigators said the student and Bynum had continued seeing each other even after the student graduated in May.
Authorities said no sexual acts had occurred on school property. Bynum and the student met after school hours.
“No action has been taken yet,” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Gary Williams said. “We will investigate the situation and then go from there.”
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said that 16 is the age of consent under Alabama law, but a bill sponsored by Rep. Demetrius Newton (D-Birmingham) and signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley last year made it a felony for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student under the age of 19.
“Based on the position of trust that teachers have with the students they teach, the legislators obviously felt that the age should be raised to illustrate the point that a sexual relationship between a teacher and a student can have serious consequences,” Rushing said. “By making the act a Class B felony, legislators tried to make it clear to teachers that entering into a sexual affair can cause many problems for not only the teacher and the student, but other students as well. The trust and respect teachers need to have in a classroom setting is lost at that point.”
Bynum was released from the Franklin County Jail on Thursday on a $10,000 bond.