Q: How does a 61-year-old first grade teacher try to prove her innocence after being charged with child abuse?
A: She says that she couldn't have done it, because the student in question was black, and she's too racist to molest black students.
Esther Irene Stokes, who teaches at Northwest Preparatory Academy Charter School in Humble, Texas, was charged on April 10 with felony indecency with a child. On March 1, she allegedly sent all of the other students out of her classroom and touched the 7-year-old student on her "private part," or her vaginal area.
The victim told Stokes to stop touching her, at which point Stokes ordered her out of the classroom. She "made her stand outside of the classroom in the hallway and refused to allow her to eat lunch and take a test," stated court records.
Paul A. Hardin, principal at the preparatory school, confirmed that the victim had eaten breakfast on the day of the abuse, but not lunch.
Luckily, the student knew that what happened to her was wrong thanks to an episode of Law and Order she had watched. Her mother had told her that if anyone touched her like the show depicted to tell her immediately.
Despite explicit testimony from the victim and failing a polygraph test, Stokes maintained her innocence, citing her racism.
"The defendant stated that she doesn't like black students because she was prejudiced," the official criminal complaint stated. She had said "she does not like the complainant" and has "very little to no interaction" with her.
But the victim's mother wouldn't believe that.
"It's an all basically dominant black school, so why were you there anyway?" she asked. "I'm hurt, angry to the fullest. I feel like you send your kids to school to learn."
Patty Maginnis, Stokes' lawyer, said she was innocent "based on the facts that we know." She added that the victim's original stated date of the abuse was different from the one listed on court documents, and that any racist comments that Stokes made before the abuse did not prove she committed a crime.
Stokes was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired following an investigation by school officials.
"The employee involved was immediately placed on administrative leave as soon as the complaint was received, and the matter was investigated," a statement released on Tuesday said. "As a result of the Academy's investigation, the staff member in question has been terminated."
Unfortunately, Stokes' termination is the fourth of such to occur in the past 12 months at the academy. Three teachers were fired in May for overdisciplining a 7th-grade girl, allegedly assaulting her for asking to use the bathroom. Now, all 30 teachers at the school will undergo training to ensure this doesn't happen again.
While Stokes was released on a $10,000 bond, she will again appear in court on May 21.
"It's just nasty. You 61, you grown, you have no business touching on nobody's child," said the victim's mother, echoing the collective thoughts of every good person left on the planet.