Appleton West Employee Arrested, Accused of Sexual Assault of a Student

CREATED Dec. 3, 2013

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CHILTON, Wis. -- A teacher's assistant at Appleton West High School has been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with a student. Laura Bates of Hilbert faces four counts of sexual assault of a student by a school staff member.

She was charged in Calumet County court today. A relative reported the relationship to police last week. Bates resigned from her teacher's assistant job when confronted by police about the relationship with her student.  Bates and the student were in the same special needs classroom at the high school for three years. According to police, the relationship turned sexual last month.  

"I think it makes it shocking to the community that somebody in that position would do such a thing," said Lt. Mark Wiegert of the Calumet County Sheriff's department.

The Appleton Area School District's superintendent insists all employees undergo a background check. Bates had no criminal history.

"Anytime you have something like this happen you need to go back and look at things and reflect are there things that we could have done, there also has to be a period of rebuilding trust," said Superintendent Lee Allinger.

 According to the criminal complaint, Bates explained she had very strong feelings for the victim and felt she was in love with him. She also indicated there were times when she thought he was her "soul mate."

 "Obviously there was concern that this type of relationship would continue in the future if we didn't take the appropriate actions and that's another reason the state asked for no contact with the victim," said Calumet County District Attorney Nicholas Bolz. 

Bates told police she sex with the boy several times in the basement of her Hilbert home.  None of the alleged sex acts occurred on school property. She was released on a $20,000 signature bond. She will be allowed to have contact with her three children while out on bond, but she is barred from unsupervised contact with any other children.