Teacher Sex Cases Spark Cries of Racism

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," March 29, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: There's a bitter uproar tonight over a new teacher-student sex scandal in South Carolina. A 37-year-old teacher accused of having sex with an 11-year-old student. A 23-year-old teacher allegedly had sex with five teenage students. The two female teachers are white. All the alleged victims are black. The teachers are out on bail and that has a lot of people fired up. Joining us from South Carolina, eighth judicial circuit court solicitor, Jerry Peace.

Good evening, Jerry.

JERRY PEACE, SOUTH CAROLINA SOLICITOR: Good evening, Greta. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. All right, Jerry, let's start first with Wendie Schweikert. How many charges does she have against her? She's the 37-year-old teacher with the elementary school student allegation.

PEACE: Mrs. Schweikert has six charges. She has three charges of committing a lewd act and three charges of CSC with a minor.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what is her bail?

PEACE: Her bail was originally set at $125,000.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you say "originally," what is it now?

PEACE: It was reduced to $75,000 and she's allowed to post 10 percent of that to get out of jail when she did.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so $7,500 and she's out. Now, someone similarly situated, let's say an African-American accused of a sex crime with a child, would the bail be $125,000 originally for that person?

PEACE: It wouldn't be unusual for it to be that high in that particular situation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you consider $125,000 a high bail demand?

PEACE: Oh, there's no question that's a high bail. We have a number of murder cases in Laurens County, which is the county where these offenses occurred that are less than $50,000.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you — what did you ask for when she was first arrested and presented to the court? Did you ask for any bail at all, held on no bond or any number amount?

PEACE: I asked bond be denied, but if the judge decided to set bond that it be at a high amount and of course it was over $100,000 which I considered to be a high amount.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so you would have preferred no bond, she'd be in jail, but the judge made a different judgment. All right, Allenna Ward is the 24-year-old and I think her allegations about 15 or 16-year-old teenagers, is that correct?

PEACE: Well, actually they were 14 and 15-year-old boys.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's the bond that was set for her?

PEACE: Her total bond is $110,000. She had 11 charges and each charge carried a $10,000 bail.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, were either of these women ever in trouble before that you know of?

PEACE: No, they were not in trouble before.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Allenna Ward out now on bond?

PEACE: She is out on bond. And both the defendants have electronic monitoring, so they're wearing an ankle bracelet, they're essentially on house arrest. They can only visit their lawyer, they can go to the doctor and they can go to church.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do they have stay away orders from the people they allegedly had sex with?

PEACE: Yes, that's just a normal condition of bail to stay away from the victim.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so you asked for no bond, that they be held and the judge overruled you and is this the same sort of — would an African American have essentially the same or different bail in your community?

PEACE: I think it would be the same. I don't think race was a factor at all in either of these cases.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well apparently there was some allegation and I guess it wouldn't be directed at you since you asked for no bond, suggesting these teachers got an easy ride, but we'll take a look into it more. But, thank you Jerry for showing — thank you for coming tonight, Jerry.

PEACE: Been a pleasure. Thank you.

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