Former Bay High teacher pleads guilty to sex crime

Tadlock

PASCAGOULA

Former Bay High School teacher Steven Seth Tadlock has pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a teen, though the alleged victim asked the courts not to prosecute him, according to Jackson County court records.

“…I am the alleged victim in the case against Steven Seth Tadlock,” read the victim’s note filed in Jackson County courts. “I have previously expressed my wishes that his case be dismissed but would like to reiterate this point. I do not want Seth Tadlock to be prosecuted for the alleged crime. If you decide to prosecute, I ask that you consider a lesser sentence such as probation or house arrest.”

Tadlock, 27, is scheduled for sentencing April 12 before Senior Circuit Judge Kathy King Jackson.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office has recommended a 10-year prison sentence, with six years suspended and four years to serve, court records show. In addition, prosecutors have recommended Tadlock pay a fine and court costs.

Jackson County sheriff’s investigators arrested Tadlock in mid-February 2009, about a week after he was fired from his teaching job in Bay St. Louis. Tadlock taught Spanish and worked with school clubs and band activities.

Investigators accused Tadlock of having sexual intercourse with the female student, then 17, at his former home on Gibson Road in Ocean Springs.

Tadlock admitted to the relationship in court records, saying he “had a sexual relationship” with the victim over a period of several months, from Nov. 15, 2008, to Feb. 6, 2009.

The student first asked that the case not be prosecuted in a September 2009 affidavit included in Tadlock’s court file. In it, she wrote: “I no longer wish to pursue these charges. It was not my wish to press charges in the first place.”

The legal age for consent to sex in Mississippi is 16. However, state law makes it illegal for a person in a position of trust or authority, such as a teacher, to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 18.

By MARGARET BAKER – mbbaker@sunherald.com

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