School psychologist charged with sexual battery resigns

rlurye@islandpacket.comJanuary 17, 2014 

Megan Michelle Snipes

A Battery Creek High School psychologist charged with the sexual battery of a student resigned Jan. 7, according to a Beaufort County School District spokesman.

Megan Michelle Snipes' resignation came the same day the Beaufort County Board of Education was to consider allegations she had engaged in a sexual act with a 16-year-old male student, who she was seeing professionally as the school psychologist, spokesman Jim Foster said.

Her educator's license was suspended by the S.C. State Board of Education on Jan. 9. Snipes can request a hearing before the state board permanently suspends or revokes her license, according to state board spokesman Dino Teppara.

Teppara declined to comment further on Snipes' case.

The 28-year-old psychologist was arrested Dec. 21 after a Beaufort woman filed a report with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office that accused her of inappropriate relations with her son.

The woman told deputies she had gained access to her son's Facebook account Dec. 19 and discovered several sexual messages between her son and Snipes, according to the state board order. The two had been meeting regularly in a professional capacity since 2011, the order said.

Snipes told officers that, in hindsight, the messages could be considered inappropriate and "flirty," according to the order. She also admitted meeting with the student outside of school when the 16-year-old contacted her and gave her the impression he was going to hurt himself, according to the order.

On Oct. 18, 2013, she and the student reportedly engaged in a sexual act near Bob Jones Field on Jones Avenue in Beaufort.

Upon her arrest, Snipes was placed on administrative leave with pay from the school district, which recently concluded its internal investigation into the incident, Foster said.

The school district submitted its findings to the Sheriff's Office, which continues its investigation and awaits forensic analysis of evidence, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said. Snipes was released Dec. 21 from the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

Two other Beaufort County teachers were charged in December.

Margaret LaMantia, a long-term Spanish substitute teacher at Hilton Head Island High School, was charged Dec. 10 with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and disseminating harmful material to a minor. LaMantia, who is no longer employed by the school district, is accused of sending a 16-year-old male student an inappropriate picture to his phone, kissing him and asking him to buy marijuana for her.

Lester Lara, a Spanish teacher at H.E. McCracken Middle School, was charged Dec. 4 with third-degree assault and battery after allegedly hitting a student on the back with a leather pouch. Initially placed on administrative leave, Lara returned to teaching Jan. 6, Foster said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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