By Gregg Jones
Missourian Staff Writer
A former Union Middle School teacher accused of sodomy six years ago pleaded guilty to lesser charges Tuesday.
Traci A. Storie, 42, was given a five-year suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and tampering with a witness.
Storie appeared before Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann. She was represented by a public defender.
Under terms of the plea bargain, the charge of second-degree statutory sodomy was dropped and Storie was placed on five years’ supervised probation as part of the suspended execution sentence (s.e.s). Storie also was required to surrender her teacher’s licence.
The Department of Public Safety will determine if Storie is required to register as a sex offender.
The boy was under the age of 14 and a student of Storie’s when the alleged assault occurred, authorities said.
Storie could be ordered to serve the five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections if she violates terms of her probation.
Authorities said the alleged assault occurred in 2012 away from the school, after school hours and outside of the city limits. Union police initially were contacted, but the investigation was handed to county investigators.
Initially, Storie was charged with two counts of statutory sodomy, stemming from an alleged incident Feb. 2, 2012, that occurred in Leslie. The tampering allegation is from a Feb. 9, 2012, event.
Following accusations against Storie, investigators began examining forensic evidence related to electronics and DNA.
Storie worked for the Union School District for 15 years. She was first employed in 1997 as a teacher at Beaufort Elementary.
She taught computer and technology classes at Union Middle School when the incidents occurred.
In February 2012, Union public school officials said they placed Storie on paid leave immediately after learning of allegations of sexual assault involving a student.
She did not return to the classroom after district officials learned of the allegations. She resigned from the district in March 2012.
Storie was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in July 2012. Her attorney at the time was Frank Carlson, Union.
Storie first appeared in front of then Associate Circuit Judge Ike Lamke.
Following multiple hearings and continuances, Carlson filed a motion to withdraw as Storie’s attorney in November 2013.
In December 2013, Carlson’s request was granted and the case was assigned to Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood for an indecency hearing.
A public defender was assigned to represent Storie when Judge Wood ruled she met the qualifications to receive legal services from the state.
In July 2015, a jury trial was scheduled in front of Judge Lamke for the following February. The jury trial was canceled in January 2016.
In April 2016, Judge Lamke was disqualified from the case and it was transferred to Judge Wood.
Plea hearings and other court events were scheduled and canceled multiple times from May 2016 through December 2017.
Judge Hellmann was appointed to the case Dec. 26, 2017, following Judge Wood’s retirement.