A former caseworker at Families First Network was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday, after it was found she had sexual relationship with a teenager she adopted.
According to reports, 26-year-old Lauren Michelle Myres assisted the nonprofit child protective services agency based in Pensacola and decided to foster the 17-year-old victim, following which she adopted him. New York Post quoted First Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Eddins as saying, “After the adoption was finalized, it was discovered that Myres had been having sex with the victim.”
Myres was charged with the crime in May, after the authorities were tipped off about the inappropriate nature of her relationship with the victim.
Myres and the teenager admitted to the investigators that they had sex with each other multiple times over the course of two months. She also pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors on December 11. The Okaloosa resident will be placed on sex offender probation for years and will have to complete sex offender counseling upon release.
Beyond this, she will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of her life and is not allowed to be in touch with the victim or any other minors post release.
“Our office recommended a sentence of eight years followed by probation,” Okaloosa County Chief Assistant State Attorney Bill Bishop told the Northwest Florida Daily News on Thursday. “Ultimately, it was up to the court and that was the sentencing imposed by Judge Jeff Brown. I think based on the facts and circumstances, it was an appropriate sentencing.”
Meanwhile, the teenager claimed many times over that the relationship between him and Myres, who had gotten divorced just nine days prior to her arrest, is not wrong, because he “was not being raped and was about to be 18.”
"I can’t say I’ve ever seen a case like this where an adoption occurred and sex occurred shortly thereafter,” Bishop said, adding, “There have been cases of older women having sex with young boys across the country, but this is the first I’ve ever seen.”
Tish Pennewill, a spokesperson for the Families First Network, where Myres worked for over two-and-a-half years, revealed that there were “no red flags” during the hiring or employment of Myres. “We have a culture that dictates rigorous requirements for having good people, people with the heart to do the type of service we do,” said Pennewill, who also added that Myres was fired immediately after her arrest.