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Ashford teacher charged with theft will avoid conviction

Records reveal that Laura “Laurie” Morgan McWaters has been placed in pretrial diversion, available to first-time offenders.
Teachers Laurie McWaters speaking to WTVY during a January 9, 2020 interview.
Teachers Laurie McWaters speaking to WTVY during a January 9, 2020 interview.(WTVY News 4)
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -An Ashford High School teacher charged with theft will not have a conviction on her record if she successfully completes an alternative sentencing program.

Records reveal that Laura “Laurie” Morgan McWaters has been placed in pretrial diversion, available to first-time offenders.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Office, in 2018, charged her with stealing several thousand dollars from AHS’s Student Government Association. She was a faculty sponsor of that group.

“I would not wish this hell on anybody,” she said during a WTVY interview in January 2020.

She claims to have never stolen anything from SGA, though admits she mistakenly used the group’s bank card because it closely resembled her personal card.

Her attorney, Chris Reid, also claimed the 12th grade English teacher had no reason to steal because she and her husband donated $12,000 of their own money to the SGA.

Reid blames McWaters prosecution on an overzealous superintendent who denies those allegations.

David Sewell claimed, after receiving what he believed to be a credible letter from a tipster, he turned the matter over to state auditors who contacted the sheriff’s office. He said he had no part in Ms. McWater’s prosecution.

Sewell is no longer superintendent.

In pretrial diversion, McWaters will pay numerous fees and court costs. If she fails by abide the agreement made with the Houston County District Attorney’s Office, she will be convicted.

She will apparently be allowed to keep her job.

Ken Curtis is an investigative and crime reporter who began he media career in 1969. ken@wtvy.com

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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