Posted on | January 30, 2014 | 50 Comments
The headline at the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader:
The headline is misleading because (a) the girl was 13 when the “relationship” began in 2012, and (b) it was “consensual.”
Or, as Whoopi Goldberg might say, “It wasn’t rape-rape.”
The quality of news coverage on this case ranges from confusing to inadequate. Evidently no journalist in Sioux Falls was able to find a mug shot of the accused perp, and the story of the alleged crimes is so badly told that you’d rather they just posted the police affidavit verbatim.
Someone became concerned after seeing Tonya Marie Drueppel together with the 14-year-old girl “in the corner of a bathroom” at the YMCA earlier this month.
On Jan. 22, Sioux Falls police began an investigation after receiving a referral from the Department of Social Services. On Jan. 23, police interviewed the girl at Axtell Park Middle School, where the girl “told officers her relationship with Drueppel was physical between October 2012 and December 2012″ when Drueppel was her teacher.
Drueppel, 33, had taught at the school since 2009, but resigned in May 2013 and was employed at a local daycare. Drueppel is a mother of three — two girls, ages 14 and 12, and a boy, 9 — and her husband filed for divorce in March 2013.
On Jan. 24, Drueppel did not show up for work and the girl did not show up for school. Police found them together in a room at the Nites Inn motel, where the girl said they had sex. When police entered the room, Drueppel was in the bathroom trying to hang herself with an electrical cord. According to police, the girl said she had at least five sexual encounters with Drueppel. The girl said “she performed oral sex on Drueppel” and also had sex with her teacher when she spent the night at Drueppel’s house twice. “The victim stated that she kind of looks at (Drueppel) as being her girlfriend. The victim stated that (Drueppel) feels the same way about her.”
An eighth-grade girl with a 33-year-old “girlfriend” — who are we to judge? Drueppel has been charged with three counts of fourth-degree rape and two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16. She is being held on a $500,000 cash bond.