The case of Spencer Herron, the disgraced former Carlton J. Kell High School teacher, is evidence that the truth is stranger than fiction. Before he was exposed as a sexual predator, he seemed to have it all – a teaching job he loves and a perfect marriage. However, it turned out that his life was not perfect at all after the former Teacher of the Year was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
This is the story of Spencer Herron and how he became one of the most talked about sexual predators in the United States.
Who is Spencer Herron?
Spencer Herron is a former video production teacher at Kell High School in Cobb County, situated in the U.S. state of Georgia, who was accused of sexually assaulting at least three of his students, starting in 2016. Born on February 28, 1969, to Carole Hall Herron, and Hugh Buddy Herron, in Georgia, United States, Herron grew up alongside five brothers – Mark Herron, Joe Winkler III, Lee Herron, Clay Winkler, and Chris Herron.
Herron attended high school in his hometown before he enrolled into Berry College for a Bachelor’s degree. During his time at Kell High School, he was named “Cobb County’s Teacher of the Year” for 2016-2017. Herron was described as a “cool” teacher who was “exceptionally” close to his students. Before he began teaching, Herron was a member of the U.S. Air National Guard and owned a local business owner after he left service.
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What happened to Spencer Herron?
On June 1, 2018, Herron was arrested after two underage students of Kell High School accused him of sexual assault. He was also indicted of the same charge in August same year after a third student came forward to accuse him of groping.
One of the students was Rachel, then a 16-year-old girl, who told authorities that he sexually assaulted her four times during the 2016-2017 school year. Herron also allegedly had sex multiple times with two other students between 2016 and 2018, according to local ABC affiliate WSB.
On January 18, 2019, the educator pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault. He was sentenced to five years at Wilcox State Prison and 15 years of probation.
A Hulu docuseries, titled: Betrayal: The Perfect Husband, was released on July 23, 2023, to examine Herron’s grace to grass story. The series featured his ex-wife, TV producer, Jenifer Faison, and other women he had extramarital relationships with, including Rachel, who is now an adult.
Before his ordeal, Herron was happily married to Faison for over seven years. The couple had met during their time at college. However, they broke up and reconnected 20 years later after Herron had liked Faison’s post on Facebook. Faison recalled it being love at first sight when they eventually met face to face. Herron was divorced, making him free to date Faison. They quickly began dating and got married. The couple bought a wine bar while holding down full-time jobs and successful careers. Their marriage was perfect until it came crashing down following rumours of sexual assault levelled against Herron.
“Little did I know I was married to a man who had done something so horrible that it would devastate our lives and change us forever,” Faison said in the docuseries.
During Herron’s trial, his wife decided to make some investigations of her. She was able to gain access to his email and discovered some horrible truths about her husband. Her “perfect” husband was, according to her, living a double life. Not only was he assaulting students, but he was also sexually involved with about 60 women throughout his marriage. According to reports, Herron’s email showed messages and pictures from these women and had even cheated on his wife on the week of their wedding.
“I start scrolling down and all of a sudden there’s a photo of a woman half-naked. And then there’s another one and then there’s another different woman naked,” she told ABC.
“He was living a double life. Who was this predator that I was married to? I never would have imagined the scope of what he had done.”
The educator used the wine bar as some sort of brothel, a rendezvous for meeting and being intimate with women without his wife knowing. He was allegedly even sexually involved with escorts and sex workers. When his wife got herself tested, she discovered she had contracted chlamydia from Spencer.
After he was exposed, some of the women corroborated with victims’ story, stating that Herron was pushy, aggressive, and manipulative during their affair.
In addition, Faison co-created a podcast named Betrayal where she questioned the timeline of events and how long her ex-husband was talking to other women during their marriage.
“I was just looking for all the answers. Like, I needed a timeline. I needed to know when did this start, when did this end?” she questioned during an episode.
“If it ever ended, I had to see was anything that I had done at any point?”
Rachel also appeared on the podcast and revealed that some members of the community in Marietta did not believe her at first, given Herron’s spotless track record as a teacher and the support he often received from locals.
“I went from a happy, carefree, and hopeful teenager to a cynical, angry, and depressed one,” Rachel, now an adult, explained to Faison on the podcast. “I completely shut myself out from people. I withdrew from my family and my friends and by the time I was a senior, I had no communication with anyone that I was involved with at school.”
Rachel added: “I felt like I wasn’t deserving of anything good in my life.”
Thanking Rachel for her decision to come forward, Faison revealed that she had yet to heal completely from the ordeal.
“The healing’s not over yet. I’m not out of the woods yet. It’s only been four years,” she said.
“I am still clawing my way back out of this deep dark hole that I fell into.”
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Where is Spencer Herron now?
Herron was released from Wilcox State Prison in the summer of 2022. He was ordered to register as a sex offender in Gwinnett County, with certain conditions, including no association with minors. However, there are concerns about his return to society as he told his ex-wife that he intended to “fly under the radar” in a recorded prison call.
Meanwhile, Faison has revealed that she had not had any contact with her ex-husband since his release from prison and did not “plan on it again”.
“Honestly, now that the docuseries has come out, I’m sure he will want to stay away from me as well,” she said.
Spencer Herron may be out of prison, but concerns about his release are considered valid since his previous acts went undetected for years.
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