A teacher who had sex with her 15-year-old student has avoided going to prison by marrying the boy.
Leah Gayle Shipman, 42, married Johnnie Ray Ison two years after she was arrested for having sex with him aged just 15 at Wilmington High School in North Carolina.
That means the authorities can’t make Ison, who is now 19, give evidence against Shipman, The Wilmington Star-News reports.
This is because under North Carolina law a defendant’s spouse cannot be made to testify in criminal cases.
Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Gina Essey reportedly said: ‘None of the statements made in this case would be admissible without the victim. The defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against them.’
Simpson was facing 15 years for statutory rape at the time of the wedding, which came just six days after she divorced her husband of 19 years.
Ison’s mother gave permission for son, who was still a minor, to marry.
The wedding only became public knowledge after Shipman pleaded guilty last month to resisting an officer investigating alleged abuse. She was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence. She was fired by the school.