An Alabama teacher died by suicide days after she was accused of sexually abusing two of her students by authorities.
Leslie Buttram Gillespie was arrested on Thursday, May 27, and released on $60,000 bail that same day. At 11:30 AM on Saturday, May 29, deputies from Lawrence Country Sheriff's Office were called to Gillespie's home, where they found her dead. She reportedly suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy is reportedly scheduled at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
The 44-year-old had been charged with individual counts of second-degree rape and second-degree sodomy as well as two counts for being a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19.
One of the students told investigators that he and another male student went to her classroom in September 2020 after school hours, where she performed sexual acts on them, according to court records obtained by WAFF. The boys were aged 15 and 16 at the time.
Gillespie was working at R.A. Hubbard High School in North Courtland but was placed on leave by the school.
"The Lawrence County school district has been made aware that an employee has been arrested," Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools Jon Bret Smith said in a statement. "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."
The statement continued, "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 the situation."
Gillespie was an English teacher and was reportedly awarded teacher of the year in 2019.