Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Dawn P. Diimmler, the former Airport High School assistant principal accused of having a sexual relationship with a student who graduated the school in 2017, is free on a personal recognizance bond after appearing in a Lexington County courtroom yesterday morning. Although there was a sum total of $30,000 associated with the bond set by Judge Brian Buck, because it was a PR bond, Diimmler, or her family, actually had to come up with no cash in order for her to gain her freedom Monday.
Prior to being booked and facing a judge in Lexington County Monday, she turned herself in at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Saturday on similar charges that she had sex with the student at AHS and elsewhere that was under her direct authority. In that county, she was released on a $30,000 surety bond which means she had to either post that amount or contract with a bonding company to do so before she could be released from that facility. Many bonding companies will accept as little as 5% of the total amount set to bond a suspect out. This amount is set by the bonding company and is based on their expectation that the suspect won’t flee the court. If a bondsman accepted 5%, Diimmler or her family could have paid as little as $1,500 to gain her freedom until her trial.
Bonds are not intended to be punitive or punishment of any kind. This is as prescribed by law. They are simply meant to ensure that the accused returns to court when they are supposed to in order to face the charges leveled against them. Judges are required to measure how much of a threat to the community an accused is and the likelihood that they will flee the jurisdiction before they set bond.
Some crimes like aggravated rape or murder can be so heinous that a judge could decide that if a suspect isn’t remanded to the jail, there’s a likelihood that a person or the public is in danger of being irreparably harmed. Oftentimes, PR bonds have stipulations attached like an order that the accused have no contact with the victim or GPS monitoring. This could be done if the suspect has loose or no ties to the community or has the means and likelihood of fleeing to avoid prosecution.
Diimmler was escorted out of the Lexington County Detention Center Monday after she was booked. This process includes dressing out in a prison issued jumpsuit, being photographed, searched, and fingerprinted. She ducked her head and had a tan hat pulled down low on her forehead as she was quickly escorted to a waiting SUV yesterday as she was released. A light rain was falling, and a horde of news reporters with cameras followed her and the man who escorted her. He held an umbrella to protect them both from the rain. She took no questions and made no statements.
Diimmler was charged by the City of Cayce Department of Public Safety and the City of Columbia Police Department with sexual battery of a student. Those charges don’t take into consideration the age of the student or their willingness to participate in the sexual act. It is intended to protect students of any age from having an educator in a position or authority over them from coercing them into a sexual relationship.
Diimmler’s next appearance in court is scheduled for April 5, 2018. She has been terminated from her employment with Lexington School District Two, and if proven guilty, will almost assuredly lose her teaching credentials. She has been in education for over 20 years and has received many accolades over her career.