Federal authorities have caught Cara L. Dickey, the former charter school teacher convicted of rape for having sex with a 14-year-old male student and considered to have been a fugitive because she allegedly removed an ankle bracelet that she was required to wear while she was on parole.
They found her and the girlfriend she met behind bars in a motel room Saturday near Chicago.
The U.S. Marshals Service in Western New York said Dickey was with Candice Brighon, a woman from Niagara County who has served time in prison and also was wanted as an absconder by the state prison system. The women were being held Sunday night in Chicago’s Cook County Jail until New York parole officials retrieve them there.
Dickey, 34, and Brighon, 25, met while doing time in the state’s medium security prison for women at Albion and struck up a romantic relationship, said Marshals Service spokesman Dan Larish. He said Dickey spoke of their involvement in a call to a Buffalo television station – WKBW – while she was on the run.
New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision issued a warrant for Dickey’s arrest after determining Jan. 9 that she removed the ankle-monitoring bracelet she was directed to wear in order to be released from prison in 2012, a year before her four-year sentence was up.
Brighon, too, was wanted since Jan. 9. Buffalo police, meanwhile, alleged Dickey broke the rule that a sex offender must notify officials when they change addresses, and they issued a warrant for her arrest. Dickey’s last known address was on Bailey Avenue in South Buffalo.
Dickey may have fled so that she and Brighon could be together without interference, authorities said. New York parolees are often banned from contact with other ex-convicts. The woman who called the television station and identified herself as Dickey said state parole officers were upset about her involvement with another felon.
Even without that, Dickey was on thin ice. Another condition of her parole barred her from contact with minors, but Brighon’s young brother had been with the couple over the holidays.
Dickey was married with three young children living in Clarence when she worked at South Buffalo Charter School in 2008. She was charged that year with rape for having sex with the underage student.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape in March 2009, after it was revealed that she tried to coax the boy into a suicide pact by drinking a cocktail of rum, Nyquil and Tylenol. Dickey’s husband, Roy, filed for divorce soon after his wife’s arrest. The divorce was finalized in 2010, while she was in prison.
U.S. marshals conducted interviews and received tips before theorizing that Dickey and Brighon were in Atlanta, Cleveland or Chicago. A break came Wednesday when Brighon was charged near Chicago with prostitution, though it took time to make the connection because she gave a different name when arrested, Larish said.
Marshals with the service’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force swept in and took the women into custody Saturday afternoon in a motel in Elk Grove Village, Ill., near O’Hare International Airport. Larish said the two chose the Chicago area for no particular reason; they were just trying to get far from New York.