Teacher charged with myriad crimes after allegedly sharing nudes and videos with 16-year-old


Rikki Lynn Laughlin appears in a booking photo

Rikki Lynn Laughlin appears in a booking photo (Maries County Sheriff’s Office)

A Missouri special education teacher faces criminal charges over an alleged relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Rikki Lynn Laughlin, 25, stands accused of one count each of possession of child pornography, tampering with a witness, tampering with physical evidence, attempted statutory rape in the second degree, promoting obscenity in the first degree, and furnishing pornographic materials to a minor, authorities said.

According to the Maries County Sheriff’s Office, the illicit relationship largely consisted of the teacher pursuing the student while the student hesitated and made excuses not to engage with her.

On Oct. 19, Maries County deputies were contacted by Phelps County Sheriff’s Office detectives, according to court documents obtained by Jefferson City, Missouri-based CBS affiliate KRCG. The first agency reportedly received a tip alleging sexual contact between an employee and a student at St. James R-1 High School, about 90 minutes southwest of St. Louis.

Investigators say they ascertained that Laughlin contacted the boy via Snapchat after the school year began. Eventually, the student and the teacher kissed in a classroom, authorities allege.

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The student allegedly told detectives “things progressed fast” after that classroom kiss, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by the River Front Times.

The teacher requested nude pictures from him, sent him nude pictures, and sent him a video of herself using a dildo, the student alleged.

The student provided the teacher with the photos she requested, authorities allege. At some point, though, Laughlin allegedly told the student that people at the school were beginning to talk – and asked him to delete the content she had sent him – because she might go to jail. The boy allegedly deleted some content but showed detectives some of the photos, officials said.

On Oct. 14, Laughlin allegedly invited the 16-year-old to her residence to have sex while her husband was out of town. But the boy “made excuses for not meeting with Laughlin because he did not feel comfortable,” a detective wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

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After talking with the child, detectives interviewed the teacher.

“I was not aware he was a minor until yesterday,” Laughlin allegedly told law enforcement when quizzed about her conduct.

The defendant allegedly did not shy away from what happened between herself and the student but claimed that he initiated the contact, authorities claim. After giving over her cellphone for an allegedly voluntary search, investigators say they found three videos similar to the content the child had earlier described.

The defendant is currently on leave from her place of employment pending an investigation, according to St. Louis-based CBS and MyNetworkTV affiliate KMOV.

“The District takes these matters seriously and reported allegations to appropriate outside agencies, including law enforcement,” St. James R-1 School District Superintendent Tim Webster said in a statement. “We have been actively cooperating with these agencies since the initial report.”

Laughlin’s bond is set at $100,000. She is currently slated to appear in court on Nov. 20.

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