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2019 Teacher of the Year Dies in Apparent Suicide After Her Arrest for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Two Students in Alabama

Mugshot of Leslie Gillespie

Leslie Gillespie

A teacher recently arrested in the alleged sexual abuse of students has died in an apparent suicide, said authorities in Alabama. Leslie Buttram Gillespie, 44, was reportedly out on a $60,000 bail.

“It appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Lawrence County coroner Scott Norwood said, according to Gillespie was found at her home in the town of Hillsboro on Saturday morning, he said. An autopsy is scheduled at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Gillespie was reported dead just two days after her arrest. She faced charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy, and school employee engaging in sex act with a student, according to WAAY-TV.

The alleged victims were identified as two boys, ages 15 and 16. The abuse allegedly happened after hours in her classroom at R.A. Hubbard High School in September 2020.

Gillespie, who taught English, was reportedly the school’s teacher of the year in 2019. She had been put on administrative leave after the arrest.

“The Lawrence County school district has been made aware that an employee has been arrested,” said Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith, according to WAAY-TV. “Our school district treats this type of situation with the highest level of care. District leaders are conducting an investigation into this matter and will support law enforcement as they do the same.”

“While the district cannot provide any specific details at this time, we want to emphasize that there is nothing more important to Lawrence County Schools than the safety and well-being of our students. The district will work diligently and expediently to resolve this situation,” the statement continued.

[Mugshot via Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office]

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