Former Lamar Co. teacher pleads guilty to statutory rape

By HASKEL BURNS,

A former Lamar County School District teacher who was arrested on allegations of a relationship with a student has pleaded guilty to statutory rape.

Jenny Christine Hipp, 40, entered her guilty plea Nov. 12 in Lamar County Circuit Court. Hipp, who is represented by Hattiesburg attorney Tangi A. Carter, will be sentenced Nov. 21.

A conviction of statutory rape carries a potential maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Hipp, who had served as a speech-language pathologist with the district since 2014, was arrested in June 2017 by Jones County authorities on a warrant from Lamar County. Her indictment states Hipp – who was 39 at the time of the offense – willfully engaged in sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old male.

In a statement issued shortly after Hipp’s arrest, Lamar County School District Superintendent Tess Smith said Hipp had been fired from her position at the district.

“I received a complaint on Thursday, June 15 (2017) and began an immediate investigation,” Smith said. “When I received information Wednesday regarding possible criminal behavior, I contacted the Lamar County District Attorney’s office.

“The employee has been terminated. We are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation.”