Although the case against Ashley Dowden, an English teacher at Riverdale Christian Academy in East Baton Rouge, La., started off as charges against her for an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student from another school, it quickly became something more. Dowden, as Huffington Post reported Aug. 31, was also having sex during lunch periods with an 18-year-old student the Christian school as well.
According to the Post, the 41-year-old teacher was first accused on an inappropriate relationship when the parents of a 16-year-old boy contacted the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office after discovering some explicit text messages on his cell phone and, after confronting the teen, getting his admission that there was more to the relationship than the text messages. The teen, who does not attend school at Riverdale Christian Academy and where Dowden has taught for the past two years, spoke to the police in mid-August. Sheriff's Office deputies submitted in their probable cause documents, according to WVUE in New Orleans, that the teen admitted to having sex with the teacher at the school where she worked.
Ashley Dowden denied the relationship at first. But then Sheriff's deputies revealed they had the text messages. She "admitted that she had sex with the victim and she exchanged nude photographs and sexually explicit messages with him, after she was confronted with the images that were recovered from his phone."
According to the investigation, the relationship lasted between May and June of this year.
She was placed on administrative leave at Riverdale Christian Academy as soon as school officials were notified of her pending arrest. She was subsequently taken into custody and charged with computer aided solicitation of a juvenile, indecent behavior with juveniles, and carnal knowledge of juveniles, but was later released when she posted a $15,000 bond.
But as often happens in these cases, the uncovering of one infraction sometimes leads to others. Five days after her arrest, Ashley Dowden was accused of having sex with an 18-year-old student at the Christian school where she worked. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn-Hicks told NOLA.com that Dowden allegedly met and had sex with the student during lunch breaks.
This time the Riverdale Christian Academy acted swiftly. After Ashley Dowden was charged with prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student, which is a misdemeanor due to the legal age of the alleged victim, she was summarily fired from her teaching position at the Academy. Her bio, which indicated she had been married for ten years and had a daughter, was then removed from the school's website.
The Ashley Dowden case was only one of two cases within a week that the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office gained national attention. On Aug. 26, with the aid of U. S. Marshals, Sheriff's deputies took into custody "Sons Of Guns" reality television star Will Hayden. Earlier charges of child molestation against his own 12-year-old daughter had been amended with a warrant for his arrest when the young girl told police she had been raped by Hayden almost daily since she was 11 years old.