OTTAWA — A substitute teacher in Putnam County was in jail Thursday, accused of with having sex with a student in her class.
Jessica L. Storer, 28, of Pandora, is charged with sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and six counts of furnishing alcohol to an underage person, each a first-degree misdemeanor.
Storer made her first appearance in court Thursday, where she initially told Putnam County Municipal Judge Chad Niese she would plead no contest to the misdemeanor charges. After the judge told her had the right to an attorney on those charges, she changed her plea to not guilty.
“I didn’t realize that, so I will plead not guilty,” she said.
Police accused Storer of having sex with a male student from Pandora-Gilboa High School on Nov. 26 at her home at 202 South Ave., Pandora. Pandora Police Chief Scott Stant arrested Storer on Wednesday following an investigation into a tip he received Dec. 12.
Stant was told Storer was a substitute teacher for Pandora-Gilboa Schools and that she had provided alcohol to minors at her home. He also was told Storer had sexual intercourse with a male student she had in class, according to court records.
Stant contacted the father of the alleged teenage victim, who gave him permission to speak with his son. The alleged victim said he was at Storer’s home the evening of Nov. 25 and spent the night. He said he drank alcohol Storer provided, according to court records.
The teenager told the police chief he had sexual intercourse with Storer on the morning of Nov. 26 at her home, according to court records.
Stant interviewed Storer on Dec. 13, and she admitted to having sex with the teenager, according to court records.
Niese scheduled a probable cause hearing for Tuesday on the felony charge. The judge set her bond at $50,000 and ordered she stay away from the alleged victim, Pandora-Gilboa Schools, cannot work as a teacher or substitute teacher, and must stay away from children who are not related to her.
Storer asked whether she could be around her own children should she be released on bond. The judge told her yes.
Storer will be assigned a court-appointed attorney after she told the judge she had no money but said she still was employed by the Putnam County Educational Service Center.
Storer is not a direct employee of the service center. She was on the substitute teacher list but removed after the allegations against her surfaced, said Jan Osborn, the superintendent for the service center. She only had been on the list since September, Osborn said.
Storer did pass a background check including a criminal record check, has a valid teaching license and a college degree that qualified her to work as a substitute in Putnam County, Osborn said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.