|Schoolteacher Too 'Prejudiced' to Touch a Black Student|
|Alexa Valiente||Apr 18, 2013, 2:09 PM|
A Texas schoolteacher, accused of inappropriately touching her student, allegedly told Texas police she's too prejudiced to touch a black student.
Irene Esther Stokes, 61, from Montgomery, reportedly told investigators that she did not touch the first grade student, and that she "doesn't like to touch the black students because she [is] prejudiced," according to the criminal complaint from Harris County district attorney's office. (Stokes is identified in the complaint as white.)
Stokes, a first grade teacher at Northwest Preparatory Academy Charter School, in Humble, faces a felony charge of indecency with a child.
Patty Maginnis, Stokes' lawyer, could not be reached by ABCNews.com for comment, but she told ABC affiliate KTRK, "This type of accusation has never been made against this woman, and she's completely not guilty of this charge."
She could serve up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if guilty, Sara Marie Kinney, Harris County DA's office spokesperson, told ABCNews.com.
Kinney said that the incident occurred on March 1, when Stokes sent all of the students outside of the classroom, except for the complainant. According to the complaint, the girl said Stokes inappropriately touched her on her "private part" on the outside of her clothes.
When the girl told her to stop, Stokes allegedly sent her out of the classroom, where she remained the rest of the day, as the class took a test and went to lunch without her, Kinney said.
First grade teacher, Irene Esther Stokes, allegedly told investigators "she doesn't like to touch the black students." (Harris County Sheriff Office)
Humble police department investigated the incident after the child told her mother what allegedly happened. The school provided police with a cafeteria printout that verified that the student ate breakfast that day, but did not eat lunch, according to the complaint.
Investigators then spoke to Stokes after she failed a polygraph test about the incident, the complaint stated.
"When pressed about the allegations, the teacher responded with a denial," Kinney said, and then Stokes allegedly stated her prejudice against touching black students.
She also told investigators that "she does not like the complainant and has very little to no interaction with this complainant," according to the complaint. Stokes also denied ever being alone with the complainant or not allowing her to eat lunch.
Charges against Stokes were filed on April 10, and she has since posted a $10,000 bond and is due in court May 21.
"The employee in question was immediately placed on administrative leave as soon as the complaint was received," Miracle Educational Systems, which operates the school, said in a statement. "The matter was investigated. As a result of the Academy's investigation, the staff member in question has been terminated."