CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County circuit judge ordered a psychiatric exam for a former teacher Friday instead of sentencing her for sending a topless photo of herself to a former student.
Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom said Ramsey Bearse will begin undergoing a psychiatric exam for competency on Feb. 4. He then reset her sentencing for March 5.
“I have decided to send you for a psychiatric evaluation,” Bloom said to Bearse in the courtroom Friday.
“To determine competency and also to evaluate the relationship between the medical condition that is described by the doctor and the decision making process.”
Bloom said the claim received from the doctor’s office raised some significant questions including one about a physical ailment that the doctor indicates may have effected Bearse’s ability to make appropriate decisions.
Bearse, 29, pleaded guilty in December to one count of possession of material depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct.
Bearse was arrested in December 2018 and charged with four counts of sending obscene material to a minor.
Authorities said Bearse sent pictures to a former student at Andrew Jackson Middle School on the social media app Snapchat. She told the judge in September that she thought she was sending the photos to her husband. She said she didn’t have many friends since moving to West Virginia from Kentucky.
Bearse was suspended from her teaching position at Andrew Jackson Middle School following the arrest. She no longer is employed by Kanawha County Schools.
The original criminal complaint in the case said that a parent of the 15-year old boy said the boy had inappropriate pictures on his phone sent to him by the teacher. The parent confirmed that the teen attended the school from sixth through eighth grades, the complaint said.
The courtroom was crowded for Friday’s sentencing. He ended quickly after Bloom’s announcement.
MetroNews Reporter Jake Flatley contributed to this story