An English teacher from Fred Fifer Middle School, identified as Stephanie Seabury, 22, was charged with one count of sexual abuse of a child during a court hearing Monday morning.
A Caesar Rodney School District teacher has been arrested by Dover Police after allegedly conducting a sexual relationship with one of her male students.
Stephanie L. Seabury, 22, of the 1300 block of Farmview Drive, Dover, surrendered to Dover Police early Monday morning. She then was escorted to Justice of the Peace Court 7 to hear the formal charges against her.
Seabury, an English Language Arts teacher at Fred Fifer III Middle School, Camden, allegedly started the relationship in February. The affair came to light after the 13-year-old boy told others about it, said police spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman.
Police interviewed the victim at the Children’s Advocacy Center on March 12, and notified school officials the next day. She has since been suspended with pay pending action by the district (see sidebar).
Escorted to JP Court 7 by her attorney, John Garey, and Dover Police officer Master Cpl. Robert Roswell, Seabury appeared before Judge Debora Foor. Dressed in a black coat and black pants, she said little more than “Yes,” or “Yes, your honor,” as Foor explained the charge and its consequences.
The charge, sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust or authority, is a Class A felony under Delaware law and carries a minimum sentence to 15 years in prison. A convicted offender could receive a maximum term of life.
Police notified in March
An investigation conducted by the department’s Criminal Investigations Unit after the boy’s interview at the CAC revealed that he and Seabury met on numerous occasions, during which Seabury would drive the boy to her residence at Woodmill Apartments in Dover.
Detectives learned that on or about Feb. 26, Seabury had sexual intercourse with the boy at her home after taking him there after school. Detectives retrieved surveillance footage of Seabury and the boy leaving the school and walking toward her vehicle at approximately 3:48 p.m. on that date. The investigation by the Dover Police Department also revealed Seabury and the student exchanged several explicit phone messages and a photograph during the relationship.
During Seabury’s court appearance, Geary asked his client be released on an unsecured bond, noting she had cooperated with the investigation and that proof of the victim’s story was weak.
“The evidence is barely enough to get a probable cause warrant in this case,” Geary said.
Roswell, however, noted detectives still are investigating the case and additional evidence could bring additional charges.
Geary also told Foor that Seabury was not a flight risk, although she had visited her home town in New York several times during the police investigation.
Information on Seabury’s Linked-In website page indicates she is from Hauppage, N.Y., and graduated from high school there in 2009. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2013, and served as a student teacher at the Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington in 2013 and as a tutor at the George V. Kirk Middle School in Newark in 2011.
Garey: Seabury innocent
Ultimately, Foor denied Geary’s request for an unsecured bond, but agreed with Roswell’s request that a secured bond be set at the lower end of the scale.
“I don’t think the unsecured bond is appropriate for a Class A felony,” Foor said, setting a $40,000 secured bond. In addition, Seabury is to have no contact with the victim, is denied contact with any children under the age of 18, and cannot leave the state without approval. She also was placed under pretrial supervision, and ordered to attend a preliminary hearing May 9 at the Court of Common Pleas.
Afterward, Geary said Seabury maintains she is innocent of the charge against her.
Seabury posted the bond and was released from custody at approximately 11 a.m., Hoffman said.
In a briefing following Seabury’s hearing, Hoffman said the Caesar Rodney School District has cooperated fully in the investigation.
There were no other children involved in the investigation, Hoffman added.
“It was an isolated incident with one student,” he said.
Dover Police took the lead in the case because the alleged crime occurred within the city. In addition to evidence gathered during the interview with the victim at the CAC, items from Seabury’s home were seized by search warrant, although Hoffman declined to give details on what was taken from the residence.
A trial date is in Kent County Superior Court could be set during Seabury’s preliminary hearing.