At the core of every interaction we have with others is trust. We trust the people we work with to get their job done, we trust the stores we buy from to provide what’s advertised, we even trust strangers not to harm us as we pass each other on the street.
There is no relationship that requires more trust, perhaps, than leaving our children in the care of others. Yet it’s something that happens every day when our kids go off to school. We trust their teachers and school administrators to have their best interests in mind. When that trust is violated, it is one of the worst things that can happen…
For just about her whole life, Dawn had wanted to be an educator. She loved kids and found the idea of helping youngsters develop intellectually and personally to be very fulfilling. When she got to college, there was only one real direction for her to go.
Dawn enrolled in the University of South Carolina, where she studied Educational Leadership and Supervision, then went on to study Emotional Behavior Disorders at the College of Charleston. When her education was complete, she was perfectly suited to going into her chosen field…
Building a Family
Starting in 1995, Dawn started her career and gradually moving up the ranks. It’s safe to say that her love of children extended beyond just her professional life. She and her husband had wanted kids of their own, having 3 kids aged 7, 9, and 11.
After putting nearly 2 decades of effort into her education career, Dawn had managed to secure an excellent position. In 2012, she was hired as the assistant principal of Airport High School located in Columbia, South Carolina…
Living the Dream
Everything seemed to be going well in Dawn’s life. Her children were all happy and healthy and she was good at her job and had earned the respect of her coworkers. More than just being respected, she was well-liked by coworkers and students alike.
In fact, after 5 years of being the school’s assistant principal, it’s safe to say that Dawn had developed some very close relationships with the students. But unfortunately, rumors began to circulate about her relationship with one student in particular…
Dawn seemed to be quite close with a senior named John. Judging by the way the 2 looked at each other, people started to talk about the possibility that they might be involved in some sort of relationship.
Like most rumors in high school, you would be forgiven for dismissing the idea that an assistant principal was dating a student out of hand. But the rumors about their relationship persisted, with people occasionally claiming to have seen them together outside of school…
The administration at Airport High School didn’t believe the rumors but that didn’t matter. Because of the seriousness of the allegation, the school district was forced to do an investigation. They needed to find out if there was an inappropriate relationship and if so, put a stop to it.
When the school began to investigate, they found plenty of evidence to support the rumors. According to what they uncovered, it appeared that Dawn had had a relationship with John for at least 3 months…
At School and Elsewhere
Dawn Diimmler “engaged in sexual intercourse with [John] on 2 occasions while at the school,” according to the investigation. They also met up outside of school on at least one occasion, having had a tryst at a local hotel.
“Ms. Diimmler was terminated following the district’s investigation into allegations that she might be involved in an unprofessional relationship with a student,” the district said at the conclusion of the investigation. During the course of that investigation, the administration immediately notified the police when they believed anything illegal may have happened…
Not A Minor
Because John was 19 during the time of his alleged relationship with Dawn, she wasn’t charged with anything related to having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. However, because John was a student under her direct supervision, Dawn’s actions were still illegal.
Abuse of Position
The official charge against her was “sexual battery with a student 18 years of age or older, where there is a direct supervisory authority, no aggravated force or coercion,” which is a felony charge. Dawn turned herself into the police shortly after she was charged…
Dawn was instructed not to have any contact with any students or their families but she chose to violate that directive. She didn’t try to contact John but instead placed a call to the teenager’s mother.
“I Love Him”
Dawn wanted to talk to John’s mother in order to apologize for her inappropriate relationship with her son. But in addition to her apology, she tried to explain her actions, claiming that she was “in love” with John…
For his part, Dawn’s husband displayed remarkable loyalty. He apparently stayed by her side as the trial approached, being seen still wearing his wedding band as he held her and shielded her from cameras as she left the Lexington County Detention Center as she was released on bond.
If Dawn is found guilty of the charges against her, she could face as many as 5 years in prison for what she’d done. Even if she is eventually found innocent, it’s safe to say that her career in education is over and her marriage is bound for rocky times…
Dawn was not the only one in hot water over the alleged relationship. The school’s principal, Brad Coleman, was placed on administrative leave after the investigation, presumably for allowing the relationship to go on under his nose.
To protect the identity of the male student Dawn Diimmler was involved with, his name was not released to the public. Throughout this story, we have referred to him by the name “John” as in “John Doe.