Crime & Courts

Fired Airport High administrator accused of sex with student pleads guilty

A former Airport High School administrator accused of having a sexual relationship with a 19-year-old student has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, but a second charge against the former educator remains pending, according to court records.

Dawn Proffitt Diimmler pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of second-degree harassment, according to Richland County court records. A judge sentenced the former Airport High School assistant principal to 30 days in jail or a $200 fine.

Diimmler’s attorney could not be reached immediately Thursday morning.

Police in Cayce and Columbia each charged Diimmler in February with a count of sexual battery with a student, a felony that carries up to five years in prison for each charge. Second-degree harassment, to which Diimmler pleaded guilty, is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 30 days or a $200 fine.

Diimmler was fired by the Lexington 2 school board in February after an investigation by the school district and police into an alleged “unprofessional relationship” between her and a student in 2017, The State reported at the time. The student was 19 years old at the time of the alleged relationship.

Cayce police said at the time that Diimmler had sex with the student twice at the school during their three-month relationship. She also was accused of having sex with the student at a hotel on Harbison Boulevard in Columbia, prompting the charge in Richland County.

Diimmler admitted to district officials that she had an inappropriate relationship with the student and that she apologized to the student’s mother but said she was also in love with him, according to documents released from the school district through an open-records request.

“Specifically, your conduct, in having an inappropriate relationship with a student, lying about that relationship to me, and contacting [redacted] despite my directive that you not do so, manifests an evident unfitness for teaching, justifying your termination,” Superintendent William James Jr. wrote in a letter to Diimmler informing her of her firing, a copy of which was provided by the school district.

In South Carolina, it is a crime for a K-12 teacher or school administrator to have sex with a student enrolled at the school regardless of the student’s age.

A charge of sexual battery with a student is still pending against Diimmler in Lexington County, records show.

Brad Coleman, Airport’s then-principal who was placed on administrative leave at the same time as Diimmler, was offered the chance to return to his job at Airport, district officials said. However, he resigned when his contract expired in June.