Lee Annette Williams (copy)

Williams

LEXINGTON — A former Davidson County middle-school teacher convicted last month on charges she sexually abused a teenage boy nine years ago can travel to Florida for a weeklong vacation, despite being on probation.

Lee Annette Williams, 51, of the 300 block of Act Drive, pleaded guilty May 29 in Davidson Superior Court to one count of felony crime against nature.

As part of the plea deal, Davidson County prosecutors voluntarily dismissed other charges against her — three counts of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense and four counts of indecent liberties with a minor, according to court documents.

Judge Anna Mills Wagoner of Davidson Superior Court gave Williams a suspended sentence of five to six months and placed Williams on supervised probation for two years.

Normally, people on probation are not allowed to travel out of state, but Williams had already paid for a planned vacation to Florida from July 7 through July 14, Assistant District Attorney Rob Taylor said.

Wagoner approved allowing Williams to travel to Florida for vacation as long as she provides proof to her probation officer that she has paid for the trip and has reservations.

According to court documents, Williams is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy who had been her student between June 1, 2009 and Oct. 5, 2009. The alleged sexual abuse did not happen on school property, officials have said.

Williams was a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Ledford Middle School. Tabitha Broadway, a spokeswoman for Davidson County Schools, said Williams had taught at Ledford Middle School from August 2007 until Aug. 18, 2017, when she was suspended with pay. Williams was arrested and charged in August 2017.

That suspension with pay lasted until Nov. 6, 2017, she said. Williams was then suspended without pay from Nov. 7, 2017 until Dec. 18, 2017, when she resigned, Broadway said.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release last year that detectives started investigating on July 19, 2017. The then-22-year-old man told investigators that Williams sexually abused him when he was 14 and 15. At the time, Williams was a close family friend and former teacher.

Taylor said in cases such as this, he typically talks to victims about the evidence and the options in how to resolve the case, either through a plea deal or by going to trial.

In sexual-abuse cases, victims often have to testify, he said.

Taylor told the alleged victim in this case about the proposed plea deal and the man took some time to think about it. Taylor said he came back and indicated that he was OK with the plea deal as proposed.

David Freedman, Williams’ attorney, said Williams had been a great teacher and a good family person.

“She greatly regrets the actions that led her to the plea in court,” Freedman said. “I believe it’s always best when matters can be resolved without being litigated in court.”

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mhewlett@wsjournal.com 336-727-7326 @mhewlettWSJ

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