Former substitute accused of having sex with Ashley Ridge student, district officials say

William Jesse Baber II, 22, of Lancelot Hall in North Charleston, a former substitute teacher for Dorchester District 2, was charged with with sexual battery with a student 16 or 17 years of age after a student at Ashley Ridge High School filed a complaint. He is also charged with criminal solicitation of a minor after a 15-year-old student said he tried to get her to have sex with him. Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office photo

SUMMERVILLE — A substitute teacher is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student and with trying to seduce a 15-year-old student.

William Jesse Baber II, 22, of Lancelot Hall in North Charleston is charged with sexual battery with a student 16 or 17 years of age and with criminal solicitation of a minor. He was being held Thursday in the Dorchester County jail on $70,000 bail.

The 17-year-old was a student at Ashley Ridge High School, according to Dorchester District 2 school officials. It was not immediately clear if the 15-year-old also was a student at that school.

Baber started serving as a substitute Nov. 9, mainly at high schools, district spokeswoman Pat Raynor said. He was fired Wednesday immediately after the allegations surfaced.

The parents of the 17-year-old told Ashley Ridge Principal Karen Radcliffe that their daughter was having a relationship with a substitute teacher outside of school, Raynor said. Radcliffe called the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, and deputies arrested Baber.

Under South Carolina law, it’s illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student, even if it’s consensual. Having sex with a student who is 16 or 17 is a felony that can land an offender in prison for up to five years.

In this case, the student told school administrators that she did not want to have sex with Baber, according to the incident report. Baber is not charged with using force to get sex, which would make the penalties more severe.

Baber met the 17-year-old while he was substituting at the school, developed a relationship with her and had sex with her on several occasions between Dec. 17 and this week, according to an affidavit with the arrest warrant.

The alleged sex acts did not take place on school property, Raynor said. After the allegations, the district served Baber with a trespass notice forbidding him from coming onto any school property.

The 15-year-old student said Baber developed a friendship with her and then started sending her Facebook messages trying to set up a time and place to have sex, according to an affidavit with that arrest warrant. The student gave detectives copies of the Facebook messages, according to investigators.

It’s a felony for a person 18 years of age or older to solicit sex with a 15-year-old, according to state law. If convicted, the offender faces a $5,000 fine, 10 years in prison or both.

School officials have been talking with students, and the district is not aware of any other allegations that Baber acted inappropriately toward any other students, Raynor said.

“The district is cooperating with law enforcement during their investigation,” she said.

All substitute teachers must clear background checks and undergo training before entering the classroom, she said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553

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