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Kristi Oakes

A former Tennessee high-school teacher is facing trial on charges she repeatedly had sex with a 16-year-old boy who was in her biology class the previous year.

Kristi Dance Oakes, 32, had appealed a decision from the District Attorney General’s Office refusing her request for judicial diversion, which would have allowed the charges against her to be dropped provided she complied with court orders for a specific period of time.

Oakes, free on bond, was charged with statutory rape after a police officer allegedly saw her and the boy engaged in a sex act inside a car last June.

Oakes resigned from her post as a biology teacher at Seymour High School in Sevierville after she was charged.

Oakes’ attorney, Barry Valentine, told Circuit Court Judge Richard Vance Monday during a hearing on the judicial diversion motion that she wasn’t the boy’s teacher at the time of the alleged incident and, therefore, wasn’t an authority figure. He also argued that, since the incident occurred during the summer, she hadn’t abused her position of trust as a teacher.

He also said that Oakes’ life has been devastated by the case. The married mother of two children lost her home and even lost the job she took at a grocery store after resigning from the school system because of the charges, he said.

Valentine stressed that Oakes has no prior criminal record and described her as being “very educated, very intelligent.”

The judge set a July 27 trial date. If convicted of statutory rape, Oakes faces up to two years in prison under state law.

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