The former special education teacher at Montana, has been charged with statutory felony rape as revealed by court documents related to the investigation leading up to the January 2018 charge. District Judge Kathy Seeley had ordered the city of Helena to release the court documents on Tuesday. The Independent Record had previously requested the investigation materials from the city, which then asked the court to rule on whether they could be released.
Authorities were first alerted to the situation by Capital High School Principal Brett Zanto, who told a school resource officer that Carter and the student were caught on video engaging in inappropriate physical contact in a stairwell on June 8, 2015. The offices of the city and county attorneys reviewed the information, but officials said the footage did not appear to show any sexual contact between the two.
“I am aware that the school district did investigate on its own to see if there was any evidence to support that,” Helena Public Schools Superintendent Jack Copps told KRTV. “The district did not find any at that time and referred the matter to the police department, and they investigated with the same results.”
A detective later interviewed the teen, who initially denied having any sexual contact with the teacher. Investigators then considered the case closed pending new information. A relative of the student later told Helena police in 2016, that she knew about the teen’s inappropriate relationship with Carter. She also claimed that the teen knew personal details about the teacher that “he shouldn’t have known about”.
Carter’s husband, meanwhile, told a detective that the teen was an “unbelievable parasite” who required inordinate amounts of Carter’s time. The teen also pinched her arms and pulled her hair, causing her to need “extensive counseling due to PTSD,” Carter’s husband alleged. The teacher also spoke with a detective on phone and told the investigator she intended to report the abuse, but felt like she might need an attorney.
The teen had claimed he and the female teacher had a sexual relationship starting in 2015. The age of consent in Montana is 16, but the student was legally incapable of giving consent, which declined to elaborate to avoid identifying the alleged victim.
The student told the detective he and Carter “kind of planned on getting together once he turned 18, but they never did.” The student also told the detective he had sent Carter money from time to time, according to court documents. The student told the officers he didn’t report his relationship with Carter in 2015 because he did not want to get the female teacher in trouble. He also said Carter told him to never talk about their relationship.
Carter — who was nominated for Helena Educator of the Year in 2015, according to the Helena Independent Record — has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual intercourse without consent. She resigned her post in July 2015 and her trial is expected to begin in December. If convicted, she faces a minimum of two years in prison and up to 100 years behind bars.