Former Odin teacher pleads guilty to lesser sex offense

MARION COUNTY — A 36-year-old former Odin school teacher has pleaded guilty to the lesser of two felony charges accusing her of having sexual contact with one of her former students.

Lisa Tate (Source: MCSO)
Lisa Tate
(Source: MCSO)

Lisa Tate was sentenced Wednesday in Marion County Court to 90 days periodic imprisonment, four years probation and was ordered to pay court costs after she pleaded guilty to Class 2 felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse. She will have to serve the entire 90 day sentence, with no day-for-day.

In exchange for her guilty plea, a Class 1 felony charge against her for criminal sexual assault of  a 17-year-old Odin High School student was dismissed.

Tate was a science teacher and athletic director at the school at the time of the alleged sexual contact that reportedly was consensual, but because of Tate’s position of authority over the student it was a criminal offense.

An investigation conducted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Department of Children and Family Services indicated Tate had sex with two 17-year-old boys, but prosecutors chose to only charge her with one, as there would be no increase in the severity of the charge with an additional victim.

According to Marion County State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach at the time, the investigation revealed multiple sex acts between March 27, 2015 and April 25, 2015, involving Tate and a student she directly taught, and who was also an athlete.

Wilzbach said  his office was in possession of multiple photos indicating Tate and the student were together the month before her arrest, but he noted the photos did not actually show the two having sex. It was that same weekend the photos were allegedly taken, however, that Tate submitted her resignation to the school superintendent, and the same weekend allegations against her were being made.

Tate had taught at the school for 11 years, and had been considered for a raise and promotion. A substitute teacher was assigned to the class fort the remainder of the school year.

This is the second time Odin school has been the focus of an investigation involving allegations of sex between a teacher and a student. In 2011 Kelly Ebmeyer pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 15-year-old female student, who ultimately became pregnant. Ebmeyer is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence in that case.