Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Teacher Gets an F in Exclusive Interview Trying to Defend Herself of Sex Charges

Hunt for Justice
by Cynthia Hunt

A former Tennessee High School math teacher is hitting the TV news airwaves in Nashville saying she is the victim, not the predator. Sandy Binkley is charged with statutory rape by an authority figure. Investigators say she had sex with one of her students in the classroom during school hours.

In an exclusive
interview with the CBS affiliate in Nashville, Binkley says the 17-year-old student sexually assaulted her. "There was one incident with one student who was one month from being 18. He is bigger than me. He forced himself on me." Binkley told NewsChannel 5.

Watch the interview. If you were really raped by a student is that how you would talk about it with a reporter?

The student was a teacher's aid at Portland High School. During a hearing, court transcripts show the student testified, "She laid down on the desk and I began to have intercourse with her...she said her tubes were tied, which is why I didn't wear a condom. She said this isn't what you expected when you signed up for teacher's aid."

A grand jury indicted Binkley after hearing from that student and from investigators. After Binkley was charged, two other students came forward saying they also had sex with her. Binkley says the other students are lying to cover up for their friend. (Binkley's Mug Shot After Arrest in 2008)

What is unusual about this case is that Binkley's attorney is allowing his client to go on TV and defend herself months before her trial. He says he hopes someone in the community knows something about this he-said-she-said case to help clear his client.

As a viewer and a journalist, I watched the first part of the exclusive interview which aired last night. In my opinion, it didn't help the defense. Binkley did not come across as credible. She sat there holding her supportive husband's hand and talking about how this has devastated her life, but she didn't seem upset.

When you compare her interview with the student's testimony in court where the 17-year-old says Binkley told him she had her tubes tied, she looks even worse. Teenage boys just don't talk that way, which immediately leads me to believe she said what he claims she said.

Binkley also distrubed me when she smiled during the interview when saying she doesn't see herself as one of those attractive teachers like Pam Rogers who has victimized students. If she isn't guilty, then her attorneys made a categorically bad decision to let this woman go on TV. She should not smile about anything that relates to teachers molesting students.

Pam Rogers was a former beauty queen turned Tennessee teacher who is in prison after she was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old student in 2006. (Pam Rogers in 2006)

She did make one good point in her disastrous interview. She said people often assume because a teacher is charged that he or she is guilty.

What frustrated me with the reporting on NewsChannel 5 and in
The Tennessean newspaper is not one reporter has answered a blaring question: How did police find out about this case? Did Binkley, who says she is the victim, go to the police or did the rumorville around school lead police to investigate if this teacher was molesting her students? I would like to know how this investigation started. I am not saying I believe Binkley is guilty if she did not go to police. Many rape victims do not. However, it certainly hurts her case if she didn't since this does involve a student.

I am glad that Binkley can speak out and defend herself. That's her First Amendment right. I've seen it work well for many defendants, but I don't know what Binkley's attorneys were thinking in this case. I do know I will watch the second story to further test my theory that she isn't telling the truth.

Now it's your turn. Here's
the link to her interview, what do you think?


Kathryn Casey said...

Interesting post, Cynthia. You bring up points that would flesh this case out. I'd love to know more.

FleaStiff said...

I would like to know if in fact her tubes are tied.
I would also want to know why anyone things the 17 year old male was "molested".
It would seem unlikely that a teachers aid would be so desperate as to do something in a classroom during the school day when passersby might wander in. Not impossible, simply unlikely.
I don't think a 17 year old would be thinking about condoms anyway so I don't really trust his version of the events.

Leah said...

What I find hard to believe is that a rape victim would allow this "one month shy of 18" year old rapist to continue to attend school with the hundreds of young girls and other female teachers and staff. I doubt a true rape victim would put other innocent femeales at risk like that. Who does she think she is kidding.

I agree fleastiff....@ him being a victim.

FleaStiff said...

A desperate thirst which needs to be slaked under circumstances wherein immediate discovery is likely and eventual discovery is certain is a possibility. So too is some sort of "forcing himself on her and shame, embarassment or fear of consequences to job and marriage."
I wonder why a Teachers Aide would choose such a risky partner. Aren't there a good supply of Husbands With Roving Eyes in that town? Wouldn't they be wiser choices if she has unmet needs? Wouldn't the local Hot Sheet Motel be a more sensible place?
Its not impossible for her to have made unwise choices as to time and place but I do have some doubts.

Anonymous said...

If she was the victim, why didn't she report her attack? Ridiculous that she is only now telling she was raped. Did you watch the report about the types of lessons she said the district required that makes the students step over the line?

FleaStiff said...

I think it also strange that the only corroborating witnesses are the friends and relatives of her attacker/victim/whatever. If this Teachers Aide was doing it with students she seems to have been doing it with only a very select few of them: the two brothers and the brother's friend.
I'm not too believing of either side at this point in time.

Anonymous said...

Lets face one fact. The kid lied. First he said that she laid on the desk.

Then he admitted under cross examination that he indeed did pick her up and put her on the desk. Followed by the sentence "she wanted it". She wanted it is very telling to me. With all these women teachers getting prosecuted for having sex with students, it would be very easy to understand her not telling on him. It is a he said she said case. And a lot of rape victims dont come forward for that reason.

Anonymous said...

Watch the teaching style video. She reported the rape. Which would explain why the kid talked about her tubes being tied and why he didnt use a condom. If a rape kit was done, then he would be afraid that he would be tied to the rape.

I think that after he was questioned about the rape he made the accusations about her seducing him.

Roci said...

It is bad justice that the case comes down to "who do you believe".

I can accept as reasonable behavior that she would not say anything about being raped. Lots of women simply don't want anyone to know. They fear recrimination for putting themselves in that position and for the implication that having sex against your will with a student is still having sex with a student.

I can also accept as reasonable behavior that she would lie about it as a defense for her having sex with a student. Plenty of woman have lied about rape for less cause than this.

The judge will have a difficult job. This case certainly presents the possibility that statutory consent rules involving 17 year old males may need to be re-examined by the legislature.