Pamela Rogers Turner
On Nov. 22, two women will appear in a McMinnville courtroom. One is a
girlish, deluded dreamer who at nearly 30 still scribbles hearts and Cupid’s
arrows in her diary, writing her beloved’s name over and over in flowery
script. The other is a sexual addict desperate enough to send nude
cell-phone photos and explicit videos of herself to an adolescent boy, with
a lengthy prison stretch as the likely outcome. Both women are named
“I don’t mean she was psychotic,” says Nashville psychologist Joan Schleicher, one of the few therapists to have examined Rogers who is not bound by confidentiality (because she’s not treating Rogers). “She wasn’t. It was almost like somebody that’s into video games. She was not schizophrenic. That’s not what I mean by the two parts.” Instead, Schleicher says, the convicted teacher suffers from the same “magical thinking” that afflicts gamblers—which, in this case, led the 28-year-old Rogers to form a romantic and sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy in her class, hoping for a happily-ever-after ending that did not come.
Such thinking “is something that kids do, and in large part adults grow out of it because we realize that the world is not like this,” Schleicher says in a recent interview with the Scene. “It would be real anticipation, but over an outcome that’s just chance. That’s what we do when we wish for Santa to come and bring presents and stuff. We do it all of the time in our culture. “There is a rush of excitement with the anticipation. And there is also suicide sometimes when it doesn’t work.”
But as fate would have it, he didn’t have to come to Rogers’ house. She ended up in his. The teacher had moved out of the home she shared with her husband, then Warren County High School basketball coach Chris Turner. Their acrimonious divorce would end up reported across the country, with allegations of adultery, drugs and gambling. But for now, Rogers was quietly looking for an apartment. Ironically, the mother of the very boy who had been pursuing Rogers so vigorously in gym class asked her if she wanted to stay at their home for a while.
“Pamela was hesitant because of him,” Schleicher says, “but then she was also liking the attention from him. So she went to the house and stayed there.”
The major turning point in the relationship—when Rogers became as much pursuer as pursued—came one day via a cell phone exchange, according to quotes attributed to Justin Grissom, 19, of McMinnville, a friend of T.K.’s since the two were toddlers.
“I think you’re cute,” blinked a message on the 13-year-old boy’s cell phone. The message was from Pamela Rogers, the teacher with whom he had trifled following each ring of the gym-class bell. “I think you’re hot,” the boy answered back.
|From there, according to legal records, Rogers and T.K. engaged in oral and
vaginal sex more than a dozen times over three months. At the time, locals noted
what seemed like strange behavior on the teacher’s part. Rogers appeared to
follow the boy night and day, hung out with him around town, walked him to his
family’s car after basketball games, sat with him during games and cheered
exclusively for him.
It was an anonymous tipster who finally brought Pamela Rogers’ life and career crashing down. Dressed in a conservative dark suit, Rogers came to court and copped a plea. In an agreement that her Nashville attorney, Peter Strianse, struck with then District Attorney Dale Potter, the teacher got off with 198 days served (with good behavior taken off a total sentence of 270 days) in the Warren County jail—plus seven years and three months probation, registration as a sex offender, surrender of her teaching certificate for life, and the restriction that she cannot grant any interviews for eight years or profit in any way (including books and movies) from the case.
Her jailer, Sheriff Jackie Matheny, who described Rogers to the McMinnville newspaper Southern Standard as “absolutely gorgeous, a beautiful girl,” confined her to a cell by herself part of the time and at times with a cellmate. She attended Bible study classes at the jail and was allowed a Bible and one paperback book at a time. Only paperbacks are allowed so they will be less lethal as weapons.
On the day she walked free, Southern Standard reported that a male admirer sent her a large basket of red roses. But by the time the florist arrived with the roses, Rogers had already ridden away in a minivan to seclusion on the chicken farm of her father, heralded Clarkrange, Tenn., girls’ basketball coach Lamar Rogers.
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