Ramsey Carpenter Bearse, a former Miss Kentucky winner and Miss America contestant who battles multiple sclerosis, is accused of sending obscene materials to a minor. Online records show that Bearse, 28, is an eighth-grade science teacher at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes, West Virginia. The victim is a former student of Andrew Jackson middle.
In a statement to the local NBC affiliate, WSAZ, the Kanawha School Schools said, “Mrs. Bearse is a teacher at Andrew Jackson Middle School. We cannot comment on personal matters, but we will follow all applicable policies and procedures. The safety and security of our students is our top priority.”
Bearse won Miss Kentucky at her fourth attempt in 2014 and from there went on to compete in Miss America in 2015. Carpenter won the preliminary talent competition and went on to finish in the Top 12, making her a semi-finalist. Bearse is a native of Hartford, Kentucky.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cops Say that Bearse Admitted to Sending Photos of Her Naked Breasts to a 15-Year-Old
According to the court documents, authorities in Kanawha County received a complaint from the mother of a 15-year-old boy on December 5. The mother said that her son had received “inappropriate pictures” from Bearse. She said that her son had attended Andrew Jackson Middle School from the six to the eighth grade. Bearse had been a teacher at the school for “some of that time.” A day later, officers met with Bearse. They say that Bearse admitted to sending photos of her naked breasts to the teenage boy via Snapchat between August 2018 and October 2018. The child and Bearse both live in Kanawha County.
Bearse is facing four felony counts of sending obscene material to a minor. WCHS reports that Bearse did not talk to reporters as she appeared in court. Officials have not said if there any other victims involved in the case. WCHS adds in their report that Bearse’s lawyer said that her client would post the requested $10,000 or 10 percent cash bond.
You can read the full criminal complaint here:
2. Bearse Realized She Had MS While Trying to Play the Fiddle at Her Grandfather’s Birthday Party
At the 2015 Miss America pageant, Bearse’s talent was playing the fiddle. It was through playing the instrument, in particular at her grandfather’s birthday party, that Bearse first noticed her MS symptoms. The Press of Atlantic City reported at the time of the pageant that Carpenter had felt “a numbness and a tingling in her hands.” She told the newspaper, “As I was trying to play, I was watching my fingers and I could not control them.” In August 2010, Bearse was diagnosed with MS when she was 20 years old.
Bearse told NBC’s Today in 2015 that thanks to an early diagnosis, in addition to treatments and rehab, she is now symptom-free from MS. She told the show, “I have MS, but MS does not have me.” Bearse borrowed that quote from musician David Osmond, who could no longer perform because of his MS diagnosis. Bearse added that a relapse is always possible. Her chosen charity for the Miss America pageant was Multiple Sclerosis Awareness. In 2015, Bearse wrote an extensive essay about living with MS.
Prior to her appearance in the Miss America pageant, Bearse told Bluegrass Today that she was inspired to learn the fiddle out of her admiration for Alison Krauss. Bearse said, “I was drawn to Alison Krauss as a child. She has the voice of an angel. When I found out that I couldn’t sing like she did, I figured I had better learn to play fiddle!” Bearse also said that in her teenage years, she played in a bluegrass group named County Line Bluegrass.
3. In Order to Compete in Pageants, Bearse Said That She Had Put Her Teaching Career on Hold
At the time of her pageant stardom, Bearse said that she had put her teaching career on hold to compete. Bearse is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she studied Special Education and Behavior Disorders. Bearse said at the time of the pageant that her goal was to work with elementary students.
In the wake of Bearse’s arrest, her Wikipedia page was vandalized:
After her win at the Miss Kentucky pageant, Bearse was awarded the Heather French Henry Quality of life Award, reported WTVQ at the time. As news of Bearse’s arrest emerged, she deleted her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. A cached version of Bearse’s Twitter profile can be viewed here:
4. Bearse Married Coal Mining Magnate Charles ‘Chas’ Bearse in Kentucky in July 2016
According to Bearse’s The Knot page, she married Charles “Chas” Bearse at “My Old Kentucky Home” in July 2016. Chas Bearse and his family are heavily involved in Massey Energy, a mining company in West Virginia. As news of his wife’s arrest broke, Chas Bearse deleted his LinkedIn page.
5. It’s Texas that Leads the Way in Prosecuting Teachers Accused of Abusing Students
In November 2016, Texas State Representative Tony Dale sought to pass legislation that would prevent, as Dale says, teachers merely resigning and moving. Dale said of his legislation, “HB 218 increases penalties and close loopholes that allow educators who engage in inappropriate relationships to resign and obtain employment in another district. This bill seeks to allow Texas the tools we need to get rid of teachers who prey on our children.”
Slate reported that female educators make up 4 percent of convicted rapists in teacher/student sexual assault cases in 2006. While in 2016, former Department of Education chief of staff, Terry Abbott, wrote in the Washington Post that teacher/student sexual assault cases were on the rise. For example, in Kentucky in 2011, the state saw the number of such cases nearly double.