SHAWNEE — A judge has denied a request to reduce bail for a former McLoud schoolteacher facing child pornography charges.
Kimberly Ann Crain, 49, of Shawnee, has been jailed since her arrest on Dec. 4. Her attorney asked that her $1 million bail be reduced to $50,000.
The request indicated Crain was willing to be confined to her home with an electronic bracelet to monitor her whereabouts and agree not to use a cellphone, computer or other electronic communications devices. The request was accompanied by letters of support for her release, mostly from fellow church members.
She faces 23 felony counts in Pottawatomie County District Court, including manufacturing child pornography, conspiracy to manufacture child pornography, possession of juvenile pornography and lewd molestation.
Special Judge Dawson Engle said Monday the prison time she faces if convicted is a strong motivation for her to flee, and he expressed concern Crain would seek opportunities to obtain child pornography if released.
If the accusations against Crain are true, she was “bold” in her search for child porn, and the time she’s spent in the county jail wouldn’t deter that, he said.
Crain is accused of taking sexually explicit photos and video of girls, ages 7 to 11, in her classroom and at her home. The investigation began in November when parents told police Crain took pictures of their daughters dressed in Christmas-themed underwear at a pizza party at her home.
Authorities claim the third-grade teacher was sending the images to Gary Joseph Doby, 65, of Bloomsburg, Pa. He faces eight similar felony counts and is fighting extradition to Oklahoma.
Crain’s attorney, Cregg Webb, of Shawnee, said he wasn’t surprised by the judge’s decision Monday, and plans to appeal.
Engle said he will reconsider reducing Crain’s bail after he hears testimony and evidence in her March 6 preliminary hearing.
District Attorney Richard Smothermon said if released from jail, Crain could not be completely confined to her home and could potentially cross paths with her students.
“It’s a small community, and there are dozens of victims and numerous witnesses in this case,” Smothermon said. “It would be traumatizing for all involved if they were to run into each other.”
He said there would be no way authorities could monitor whether Crain was using electronic communication devices and there would be little to keep her from seeking more victims.
“This type of criminal can’t just stop the behavior,” Smothermon said.
Webb said Crain is not a flight risk.
Crain has lived in Shawnee most of her life, and her parents live in the area. She and her husband, Rickey Dale Crain, have been married 30 years and own a home and business there, he said.
Crain has never been convicted of a crime, and Webb said others charged with more heinous offenses in Pottawatomie County have had lower bails than $1 million. As examples, he cited criminal cases involving Gary Jay, a longtime attorney in Shawnee, convicted in 2007 of molesting teenage boys, and Charlie Dagenheart, charged with first-degree murder in 2006. Jay’s bail was set at $250,000 and Dagenheart’s at $75,000.
Letters of support
Webb provided the judge 13 letters of support for her release.
Most were from members of Temple Baptist Church in Shawnee, where she is a longtime member. All say the crimes she’s accused of are completely out of character for the woman they know.
“I have known her for over 10 years as a good friend,” wrote Lynn Brinkley, of Shawnee. “She would have never put those kids in danger. I would trust her with my own children.”
Terry LaValley, a former Shawnee Schools administrator who ran for state representative in 2000 and now lives in Colorado, has known Crain for more than 30 years.
“Kim was and is an extremely hard worker with the highest of Christian morals,” LaValley wrote.