Joe Petrey, a former teacher at Brookwood High School in Snellville,Georgia, stands accused of using Christianity to seduce a female student. This led to the two having sex at the married teacher’s home and hotels.
Jennifer Smith, a writer for the Daily Mail, reports:
A former high school student who claims she had a relationship with her married teacher has come forward to publicly shame the man as an adult.
Abigail Weissenbach, now 21, was 17 when she says she and Joe Brad Petrey had sex at his home and in hotels in Bessemer, Alabama.
They ate lunch and breakfast together in his classroom at Brookwood High School and he fondled her under a blanket during classes when other students were watching movies, she claimed.
Their illicit relationship was exposed in 2015 when hundreds of photographs of the pair together were posted on social media.
Petrey, who was 28 at the time and is now 30, was charged with child sex offences but the case against him was dismissed when Abigail decided not to cooperate with authorities in February.
Since then, she has had a change of heart and is airing her allegations in a federal lawsuit against him and the school, which she says knew about the alleged abuse but did nothing to stop it.
The woman spoke to ABC’s 33/40 to explain how she was brainwashed by Petrey into thinking she was to blame for the relationship.
‘I was going through a hard time and it was really nice to feel like I had someone who was in my corner that really really cared.
‘It was an unhealthy, abusive relationship I was in and what he did to me was wrong,” said Weissenbach.
‘Looking back now I feel very embarrassed and stupid that I believed everything he said and went along with it,’ she added.
In her lawsuit, she alleges that other staff at the school were aware of their relationship but did nothing to stop it.
‘They knew but they didn’t take any action. If he was investigated, seemingly nothing happened because I sat in his classroom behind his desk everyday.
‘I didn’t even have my own desk. And to tell me you don’t notice a student skipping lunch to eat lunch with their teacher, spending in the mornings, sitting with him or being alone in his classroom, to not take action.’
She said Petrey used religion to coax her into their affair and once said that God had told him to tell her she was beautiful in a dream.
‘He kind of coached me in Christianity and talked to me a lot about that and would ask me to sit behind his desk and it really just grew from there really quickly and it turned into something before I really knew it was going down that path.’
Over the course of a year, they had sex at his home when his wife was not there and in hotels when she was in town, the lawsuit alleges.
He took her out for meals to a local Olive Garden restaurant and took photographs together which he saved onto a hard drive, she claims.
In 2014, her dance teachers contacted the school board to say they were concerned about the relationship after hearing her talk about her ‘boyfriend’ who she called ‘Brad’.
The school board said it was investigating their claims but Petrey returned to teach the following year.