The former Forrest County Agricultural High School band director who pleaded guilty to sexual battery in a position of trust or authority will serve at least five years behind bars after being sentenced in Forrest County Circuit Court.
On July 29, 12thDistrict Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich sentenced 30-year-old Lindsey Elizabeth Daniels to 20 years in prison with five years to serve. She also was fined $2,500 and is ordered to pay court costs.
Daniels entered a guilty plea on March 2, with the possibility of a maximum of 30 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $10,000. She also was required to register on the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry with the Department of Public Safety.
In November 2019, Daniels – who is represented by Hattiesburg attorney Michael Reed – was indicted on three charges: exploitation of a child, sexual battery in a position of trust or authority, and touching of a child for lustful purposes in a position of trust or authority. According to court documents, the 12th Circuit District Attorney’s Office has agreed to dismiss the charges of exploitation of a child and touching a child for lustful purposes in a position of trust or authority.
In her original indictment, Daniels was accused of knowingly seducing a minor to meet with her for the purpose of sexually explicit conduct; committing sexual battery upon a minor by engaging in the act of sexual penetration; and handling, rubbing or touching the body of a child under the age of 18. The incidents allegedly happened between January 1 and March 29 of 2019, while Daniels was employed at FCAHS.
Daniels was arrested in late March 2019 by the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department and charged with child exploitation, but was released the next week by Fourth District Judge Robert Davis because deputies failed to procure a warrant for her arrest.
In a statement issued shortly after Daniels was arrested, FCAHS superintendent Donna Boone said Daniels was no longer employed at the school, although it is unclear whether Daniels resigned or was terminated. Boone said the school fully cooperated with the investigation by the sheriff’s department.