APB Online

March 8, 2000

Teacher Faces Sex Charge After Traffic Stop

Woman Let 13-Year-Old Alleged Lover Drive

By Janet Prasad
APB Online

Adrienne Clayton

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (APBnews.com) -- What started out as a routine traffic stop for erratic driving took an unusual turn when the officer discovered a 13-year-old boy behind the wheel.

The boy's passenger, 28-year-old Adrienne Clayton, told the officer she was his aunt and that he was driving the car because she felt sick, police said. Shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday, the patrolman took her and the boy into custody for traffic violations -- the teen for driving without a license and Clayton for allowing the boy to drive her car.

"The officer was saying, 'I don't know what's wrong here, but something's wrong,'" Detective Joe Ehrbar said.

Clayton's story changed during the booking process, when police found in her possession sexually explicit notes she had written the boy, who is a former student of hers. She initially denied having an affair with the teenager, but later admitted to five separate sexual encounters with the boy at his house, Ehrbar said.

A three-month relationship

Detectives then confirmed that Clayton, of Youngstown, was not the boy's aunt but a seventh-grade teacher at Milkovich Middle School, where the boy is in eighth grade. Police were able to document a sexual relationship between the two going back three months.

Clayton was charged with five counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony. She was still in custody under a $100,000 bond, set Tuesday in Garfield Heights Municipal Court in Cleveland. She is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a preliminary hearing.

"While a 13-year-old cannot give consent, technically, this was not done against his will," Ehrbar said. "The charge was based on a portion of ... state law that prohibits a sexual relationship not only between adult and juvenile but also teacher and student."

Jimmie Mack Jr., Clayton's attorney, declined to comment on the case, citing his client's wishes.

"This is a very sensitive situation, and we have not conducted our entire investigation," said Mack, a Cleveland attorney appointed to represent Clayton Tuesday.

School investigating

Tom Theis, assistant to the superintendent of the Maple Heights Board of Education, would not say whether Clayton still was employed by the school district, but said Clayton has not been to work since her arrest and would not return until both the criminal and the school's internal investigation were completed.

Theis refused to say whether students or parents had lodged complaints against Clayton in the past.

Police are trying to determine whether Clayton targeted other students as objects of her affection. Ehrbar said while Clayton's case is different from the typical pedophile case -- an adult male with an underage female -- it does have characteristics common to most pedophile cases.

"Many of her acts were classic pedophile acts, therefore one would make the presumption that there's a possibility of other kids being involved," Ehrbar said. "She would get real close to the kids, to their families. She is a very well-liked, well-trusted individual.

"So when something like this happens, basically the response is 'I never would have believed it,'" he said. "A pedophile doesn't do him or herself any good by alienating everyone. The idea is to be as trusted and liked as possible."

Janet Prasad is an APBnews.com Midwest correspondent.

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