Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Madden Fowlkes has submitted a guilty plea to a Caldwell County judge. Fowlkes became known by people all over the country for her mugshot. The Sun reported that two photos were taken of Fowlkes at the time of her arrest. In one, the married teacher is wearing a gray and white cardigan sweater over a white top. She removed the sweater prior to the second photo being taken. Fowlkes is smiling in both images. In the first mugshot, her lips cover her teeth, while in the second one, she gives the camera a full smile, exposing her teeth. When news of the teacher’s arrest broke, her attorney, Jason Nassour, explained his client’s apparently happy demeanor.
“This isn’t a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught. When everything’s fleshed out, it won’t be as it appears.”
Fowlkes taught anatomy and physiology at Lockhart High School in Lockhart, Texas. Days before her arrest in March 2017, police detectives received a tip from a school administrator who suspected something inappropriate was going on between Fowlkes and one of her 17-year-old students. When they were able to identify and speak with the student, they learned that he had been in contact with his teacher both through texts and personally. Police described their contact as being “of a sexual nature.” The New York Post reported that Fowlkes was charged with engaging in “sexual content with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of her male student,” with LMT Online adding that the charge of an improper relationship was a second-degree felony. Police also notified Child Protective Services of the alleged incident.
Fowlkes turned herself in and was subsequently suspended from her job at the high school. Her now-deleted bio on the school’s website indicates that she taught third- and fifth-grade students at nearby Plum Elementary School prior to working at Lockhart High School.
Lockhart Independent School District Superintendent Susan Bohn indicated that Fowlkes would not be returning to her teaching position in Lockhart, weighing in on the alleged crime back in 2017.
“Lockhart parents entrust their children to us every day, and it is something we do not take lightly. Student safety is the district’s most important priority. The district does not and will not tolerate any improper communication or contact between a teacher and child.”
Fowlkes’ guilty plea was submitted Thursday. If the Caldwell County judge accepts her plea, she would serve four years of deferred adjudication that would include either probation or community service. Fowlkes would also be required to pay a fine and surrender her teaching license.