School psychologist accused in sexual assault released on bond

rlurye@islandpacket.comDecember 21, 2013 

Megan Michelle Snipes

A Battery Creek High School psychologist charged with sexual battery of a student was released from jail on a personal recognizance bond Saturday, the same day the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office released new details of the incident.

Megan Michelle Snipes, 28, was arrested Friday after a Beaufort mother told deputies she discovered communication between her 16-year-old son and Snipes that led her to believe the two were having sex, a report on the incident said. The student has been meeting with the school psychologist at least once a week, according to the Sheriff's Office .

Snipes was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center at midday Saturday on a personal bond of $50,000, according to court records.

On Friday morning, the student had reportedly left a mobile application open on his mother's phone, revealing several messages between him and Snipes.

One conversation lasted from 5:20 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. Friday. Snipes sent another message to the student shortly before 2 p.m., while deputies were speaking with his mother, the report said.

Officers then questioned the student and Snipes and confirmed that a sexual act took place, according to a news release.

The Sheriff's Office would not provide information about what the messages between the two said. However, Snipes' warrant stated she allowed the student to "digitally penetrate her" on Oct. 18 near Bob Jones Field on Jones Avenue in Beaufort.

While Snipes did not coerce or force the student, the warrant states, state law says sexual acts between a student and teacher -- regardless of age -- cannot be consensual.

Snipes has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an internal investigation, according to district spokesman Jim Foster. Reached Saturday, Foster said he did not know when that investigation would conclude.

Superintendent Jeffrey Moss said Friday he would discuss the situation with the school board at its next meeting. He declined to comment further. The next board meeting is Jan. 7.

Snipes, who was hired by the district in August 2011, has worked as a psychologist at four schools: Port Royal Elementary School, Okatie Elementary School, Beaufort Middle School and Battery Creek High School, according to Foster.

Snipes will continue to receive her $46,012 salary, Foster said.

Anyone with information about the case can contact either Investigator Sgt. C. Wilson at 843-255-3409, call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

Battery Creek school psychologist charged with sexual battery of student, placed on leave, December 20, 2013

Sheriff's Office report: Island teacher admitted inappropriate behavior with student, December 14, 2013

Bluffton teacher charged with assault, placed on leave, December 4, 2013

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