Ex-Greer HS Teacher Bollinger Arrested For Sex With Student - WSPA.com

Ex-Greer HS Teacher Bollinger Arrested For Sex With Student

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Jessica Ruth Bollinger Jessica Ruth Bollinger
A former Greer High School teacher is charged with sexual battery of a student.

Jessica Ruth Bollinger, 31, turned herself in to Greer Police Thursday morning after weeks of investigation.

The law she’s accused of breaking didn’t exist until a few years ago.

Bollinger has been charged with sexual battery without force or coercion. That means investigators did not find Bollinger threatened or extorted the student, or used physical violence.

The chorus teacher resigned last month during the investigation, days after being placed on administrative leave.

Investigators said Bollinger admitted she had sex with the teen. Where her story changed is when it happened -- and it makes a big difference.

According to the incident report, Greer High School’s principal confronted Bollinger about her relationship with the teen last month. She admitted they had sex, but said it was after he graduated in June 2013. That would have made it legal.

Detectives say her timeline changed. She later told them it happened at her house between Oct. 2012 and June 2013, while the 17-year-old was still a student.

Police charged her under a 2010 South Carolina law that makes it illegal for teachers and students to have sex even if the student has reached the legal age for consent of 16.

Just a year difference in age makes a big difference in penalties. If the student is 16 or 17, as in this case, it's a felony. That comes with a sentence of up to five years behind bars.

If the student is 18 at the time, it's a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine, 30 days behind bars, or both.

State Sen. Larry Martin of Easley co-sponsored that measure. He said tough penalties are necessary to stop crimes against students.

“It's bad enough to hear about it on occasion like this, but my guess is that if the punishment wasn't severe in the society we live in today, we would likely have a whole lot more of it," said Martin.

In the law's first two years, the South Carolina Department of Education disciplined 17 teachers for sex offenses.

“I feel for the teacher,” said Greer High School graduate and former middle school teacher Mary Hudson.

Hudson said while she doesn't condone the behavior, she thinks the law can be too harsh in some situations.

“They can kind of get caught up in a situation that they don't intend for it to be that way and it just develops,” said Hudson.

Bollinger is home on an $8,000 bond. 7 On Your Side knocked on her door to try to get her side of the story, but she didn't answer.

Greenville County Schools said it plans to report the investigation to the DOE to take action regarding her teaching certificate.

Bollinger had been teaching at Greer High since 2004.

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