The former Forrest County Agricultural High School band director who was recently sentenced in Forrest County to 20 years in prison with five years to serve for sexual battery by a person in a position of trust or authority has pleaded guilty to the same charge in Lamar County.
Lindsey Elizabeth Daniels, who was recently sentenced in Forrest County Circuit Court, appeared on Aug. 12 in front of 15thCircuit Court Judge Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald, who sentenced her to 20 years in prison with five to serve concurrently with the Forrest County sentence.
The maximum sentence for the crime is 30 years.
Daniels, 30, allegedly began a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student, who said she and Daniels had sexual relations in both counties. Text and social media messages showed that although Daniels knew the behavior was illegal, she continued to pursue the relationship and had the teenager send her sexually explicit photos.
She also has been fined $2,500 and is ordered to pay court costs.
Daniels entered a guilty plea in Forrest County 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.