Huffpost Crime

Rickey Rowlett, Convicted Child Molester, Was Pen-Pals With Fourth-Graders In Houston

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Comal County Sheriff
Comal County Sheriff

Turns out teacher doesn't always know best.

Laura Perry, a fourth-grade teacher at Houston's Trinity Lutheran Church and School, set her students up to be pen-pals with a child molester, Newser reports.

Perry's students exchanged letters with Rickey R. Rowlett, while he was in jail on charges that he sexually assaulted a girl younger than 14 from 2008 to 2011. He was convicted on March 22 and guards discovered his letters with the students when he was moving to a new cell, according to the Houston Chronicle.

During the correspondence, which began before Rowlett was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in jail, the fourth-graders offered personal information and expressed interest in meeting Rowlett once he was released.

"It's very alarming," Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said of the communication.

Perry, who is a family friend of Rowlett and whose father testified as a character witness in his trial, allegedly told her students that he was wrongfully accused.

Parents of two children in the school -- one of whom was in Perry's class -- filed suit against Trinity Lutheran Church and School on March 27, according to CBS Houston.

The suit alleges that Pastor Michael Dorn approved Perry's plan. But John Menke, chairman of the school's governing board, said that only Perry and the school's principal Ann Boatman knew of the arrangement.

Perry is no longer on the school's staff and Boatman is on administrative leave.

Another claim in the lawsuit is that Perry's husband, Blake Perry had contact with students and helped coach soccer at the school, even though he's charged with possessing and promoting child porn.

Menke told the Houston Chronicle that Blake Perry had not been near the school since his arrest in Harris County.

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