A small-town Ohio elementary school teacher just racked up 25 charges on an otherwise clean record for allegedly raping her son.
Lori Ann Anderson, a 50-year-old teacher in tiny Cridersville, a hamlet home to fewer than 2,000 people that markets itself as “small-town America at its very best,” appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to 23 felony charges, including sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, and 11 counts of rape, along with two counts of obstructing justice. Her lawyer, Richard Kerger, told The Daily Beast that she is preparing to go to trial.
Anderson was indicted alongside her ex-husband, 53-year-old Charles Wycuff, who faces 54 felony charges. While Anderson’s charges all trace back to June 11, 1999, when her son was a young teen, the dates of Wycuff’s alleged offenses begin two years earlier, in 1997. His charges include pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, rape, and sexual battery.
A special prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office had been investigating Anderson and Wycuff for more than two years before filing charges Friday. Kerger said he believes the inquiry began after Anderson’s son went to police.
Kerger accused Wycuff of being “abusive, dominant, engaged in misconduct,” and said he was “pretty much in charge of orchestrating it.” Wycuff’s lawyer released a statement on Wednesday asserting that his client "maintains he is innocent of all charges pending against him." Wycuff is being held in jail on $500,000 bond.
He and Anderson have not been married since 2003. In their dissolution agreement, Anderson was ordered to pay $255 in monthly child support.
Anderson’s son, who no longer lives in Ohio, is now 29 or 30 years old, Kerger said. Anderson had another son who lived with his mother and Wycuff at the time of the alleged abuse, but he is not involved in the case now.
Anderson is out on bail after posting 10 percent of a $150,000 bond. Her lawyer said he thought she had been fired from her job, as a first-grade teacher at Cridersville Elementary. The school principal did not return a request for comment. Anderson lives in Lima, about 15 minutes from the school.
Anderson has been teaching first through third grade in the public school system for 29 years, “without a single complaint,” her lawyer said. “She likes teaching kids, young kids.”
“This investigation has gone on for years,” he added. “She’s relieved to tell her side of it.”
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a statement from Charles Wycuff's lawyer.