Teacher charged with indecency offers unusual denial

April 16, 2013 5:14:24 PM PDT
A local first grade teacher is out of a job, accused of indecency with a child in the classroom. But the denial she allegedly gave investigators is causing even more uproar.

The teacher has been fired from Northwest Preparatory Academy charter school in Humble. But the mother of the victim says she wants justice, and would like to know if the teacher is actually prejudiced.

Clad in a beige suit, teacher Irene Stokes, 61, made her first court appearance on Tuesday, accused of improperly touching one of her students at Northwest Preparatory Academy. Shawntel Reace is the little girl's mother.

"She just burst out and said Ms. Stokes. And I said, 'Ms. Stokes what?' And she just said, 'Ms. Stokes touched my private area,'" Reace said.

Reace says her seven-year-old daughter told her that in March Stokes kept the girl behind while the other students went to PE. That's when she allegedly touched her outside her clothing in the classroom. Stokes attorney denies it happened.

"This type of accusation has never been made against this woman," said defense attorney Patty Maginnis. "She's completely not guilty of this charge."

Humble police investigated the case. During their interview of Stokes, investigators said Stokes gave an unusual defense, telling detectives she was prejudiced.

Detective J. Blanchard with the Humble Police Department said, "She told me she doesn't even like touching the black children on their hands. I guess she's trying to say she wouldn't have touched them at all."

Stokes, who has no criminal record, has been fired from the school.

Reace says she wants justice for her daughter, and that she'll be transferring her four kids out of Northwest Preparatory.

"I regret sending them there," she said.

Stokes' attorney says she doesn't know why her client would even be accused of making such a prejudicial statement.

The school declined to comment on camera, but sent out a statement saying any parents with concerns are encouraged to contact the school at 713-688-3649.

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