A 32-year-old volunteer at an early education program in Oklahoma will avoid prison time after she admitted to having an unlawful sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy— even going so far as to commit a sex act in a church.
Tulsa County Judge Rodney Sparkman last month ordered Carol Maureen Geiger Russell to serve a suspended sentence of 15 years after she pleaded guilty to one count each of lewd molestation, lewd or indecent proposal to a child, and lewd or indecent exposure to a child, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Russell was required to register as a sex offender, pay $2,250 in fines and other costs, and was ordered to have no contact with the victim in the future.
The investigation into Russell began when the victim’s mother went through his cellphone and found explicit sexual messages that had been exchanged between Russell and the child on the boy’s Twitter account, according to a report from Tulsa CBS affiliate KOTV-DT. The mother — who reportedly did not even know that her son had a Twitter account — took screenshots of the messages and then contacted the Tulsa Police Department to report what she had found.
In an interview with investigators, the victim reportedly told police that the reason he created the Twitter account was because his parents regularly went through his cellphone.
Russell initially told police over the phone that she had no relationship whatsoever with the victim, but she reportedly called back a short while later to provide a revised statement.
In her second statement, Russell confessed to performing certain sexual acts with the victim. However, she said that the victim was the one who first brought up a sexual relationship and she rejected him but he later forced her to perform the sex acts, KOTV reported.
But the evidence and the testimony of the victim belied Russell’s claims. The victim reportedly told police that it was Russell who came onto him and made the victim touch her in a sexual manner. On at least one occasion, the victim said that Russell performed a sexual act on him while they were inside the church in which Russell was volunteering, Tulsa Fox affiliate KOKI-TV reported.
“She stated that she was forced, but the messages that we uncovered dispute that quite a bit,” Lt. Darin Ehrenrich with the Tulsa Police Special Victims Unit told the station in March. “It is hard to dispute what you’ve said when it is in writing right in front of you.”
Messages between the two also showed Russell explicitly speaking to the victim about having sex with him in graphic terms.
“Idk what the heck you did to me,” she reportedly wrote in one of the less-graphic messages. “I usually don’t go for younger.”
Authorities emphasized that while most people think of child predators as primarily being adult men, such behavior is not bound by gender.
“There are obviously a significant number of cases where the opposite is true,” Ehrenrich told KOTV. “This is one of those cases. We are not going to treat any case differently based on the gender of the suspect or the victim in any of these cases.”
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