Former Baton Rouge teacher avoids prison after juvenile sex crime conviction

Ashley Dowden's arrest photo (Source: EBRSO)
Ashley Dowden's arrest photo (Source: EBRSO)

A former Baton Rouge teacher took a plea deal that keeps her out of jail, but requires her to register as a sex offender. The teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with a now former student and a 16-year-old boy.

According to the East Baton Sheriff's Office, Ashley Dowden, 42, was employed as an English teacher at Riverdale Christian Academy while she was involved in a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old, who attended the school. The relationship occurred sometime during April 2014. She was charged with prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student.

Also, parents of a 16-year-old found inappropriate text messages on the teen's phone from Dowden. The teen told deputies he had sex with Dowden at Riverdale Christian Academy, but he did not attend school there.

"Initially, [Dowden] made the post Miranda statements that the allegations were not true," the deputy noted in the probable cause affidavit. "However, the accused admitted that she had sex with the victim and she exchanged nude photographs and sexually explicit messages with him, after she was confronted with the images that were recovered from his phone."

In that case, Dowden was arrested and charged with computer aided solicitation of a juvenile, indecent behavior with juveniles, and carnal knowledge of juveniles. She was convicted of molestation of juvenile on April 12, 2015, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff sex offender website.

Because Dowden took the plea deal, she avoids a 15-year prison sentence and was placed on five years supervised probation. For the charge of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student, Dowden's prison time was suspended and she received two years probation.

Dowden is now not allowed to teach or volunteer any juveniles.

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