Friday, February 15, 2008

Student testifies about relationship with Charlene Schmitz

Student testifies about relationship

Teacher stands trial on enticement charge
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Staff Reporter

A teenage boy testified Wednesday about his relationship with a Washington County teacher 40 years his senior who is standing trial on charges that she enticed him into an improper sexual relationship.

The boy, now 15, told jurors in federal court in Mobile that he started dating Charlene Schmitz's daughter on Valentine's Day last year.

Throughout the course of that relationship, he testified, he began spending time with Schmitz, 55, who had been his eighth-grade reading teacher.

The teen also became friends with Schmitz's teenage son and started sleeping over at the Schmitz house in Leroy, which was about a half-hour from his home in Calvert.

One day, the boy testified, Schmitz drove to his house to pick him up for a sleepover at his house.

The youth said he and Schmitz struck up an intimate conversation.

"She started talking about cheating and how she didn't like it," said the teen, speaking in a calm, clear voice. "And I was thinking, 'This is a little weird.'"

The boy testified that Schmitz asked for -- and received -- a kiss.

So began a relationship that would be carried out over a cell phone that Schmitz paid for, and instant messages on the computer, the boy testified.

Under cross-examination from defense attorney Donald Briskman, the boy acknowledged that he initially told investigators at the Child Advocacy Center in Grove Hill that the text messages he sent were to Schmitz's daughter. But, he said, he lied at the time to protect Schmitz.

Jurors saw a number of instant messages the investigators recovered from the boy's computer.Schmitz looked intently at a projection screen that displayed the words but showed no emotion as the conversations revealed sexually explicit chats.

"I wish U were old enough that I would not get into trouble," one passage from a June conversation reads. "I would not let any of the rest stop me."

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday.

Michael Black, a University of South Alabama instructor called as a defense expert, testified that there is no way to determine who wrote the instant messages. Anyone could have logged on under Schmitz's user name, he said.

But Black acknowledged that a user would need to have known Schmitz's passwords. And the boy testified that he had no doubt he was messaging with Schmitz, based on references made to things they had discussed.

Jurors saw a check for $125 that Schmitz wrote to the boy's mother, which was for a cell phone that she said was a present for the boy's moving from eighth grade to high school.

The mother said she was reluctant to accept so much money but that Schmitz insisted. The mother said she never cashed the check because she was waiting for the first bill to arrive and ended up turning it over the investigators.

She testified that she discovered her son's relationship when she saw a text message on his cell phone from Schmitz, which ended with "ILY," or "I love you."

"My first reaction was a double-take," the woman testified.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Murphy used her opening statement to hammer home the age difference between Schmitz and her student. She was born in 1952, the same year transistor radios came out, she said. The presidential race that year featured a contest between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson.

The teenager, by contrast, was born in 1992. That was the same year that Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus was born and the year of the University of Alabama's last national championship in football. Bill Clinton won the presidential race.

"That's how recent that was," Murphy said.

Press Register

Note from Gag:
This kid is obviously a two time loser with no taste in women. I mean he wasn't even old enough to understand the rule that you always check out a girl's mother to see how awful the chick will look like in X amount of years!