Sheriff talks about molestation case

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2002

LUTCHER – St. James Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. explained why he was tardy in releasing the news of the recent arrest of a 32-year-old English teacher at Lutcher High School, charged with the molestation of a 15-year-old male student.

“I didn’t want to put out a story unless I was forced to,” Martin said.

The suspect, Geismar resident Michelle Tims, has not confessed and has made no statement, Martin said.

Martin was reluctant to make any press release on the matter, as there were no witnesses, and the problem is the case will come down to “he said-she said.”

“Either way, her career is finished, whether she did it or not,” Martin continued.

Martin said Tims was booked on Nov. 1 with molestation of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile.

According to investigators, the first-year teacher had given a lift home on the evening of Oct. 30 to several students, ending with one student. The pair parked on a deserted road and she allegedly engaged in improper behavior with the student, a resident of Lutcher.

The next day, Oct. 31, Martin said the student confided what happened with a friend, who told another teacher, who then called the sheriff’s office.

Following an interview with the alleged victim and his parents, an unmarked vehicle went to Lutcher High on Nov. 1, where the teacher was called to the office.

She was placed into custody and quietly removed from the school to the courthouse, where she was booked. Tims posted bond of $25,000 and was released.

Superintendent Dr. P. Edward Cancienne has made no statement regarding the case. Martin emphasized there is only one alleged victim, hoping to put down rumors and calm fears of parents who have called him since news broke about the arrest.

“We nipped this thing in the bud,” Martin said.