A North Carolina woman who had taught for Durham Public Schools has been accused of maintaining an inappropriate relationship with one of her students. The 37-year-old woman is formally accused of sex crimes including engaging in a sex offense with a student and taking indecent liberties with a student. North Carolina law dictates that it is illegal for any teacher to engage in a sexual relationship with a student, no matter the student's age.
Authorities report that the woman is accused of maintaining the relationship with a female student. The pair met in 2012, when the student was 15 years old. Officers say that they are not entirely sure when the relationship turned sexual, though that information is currently being sought through the criminal investigation. The woman resigned from her teaching job in April; she had been working at the school as a dance teacher since 1997.
The woman has been released on bail, but an investigation into the matter is ongoing. District authorities say they are cooperating with the Durham Sheriff's Office throughout the criminal investigation. Law enforcement officers say they may have found additional evidence in the woman's home that could lead to more criminal charges. The nature of that evidence has not yet been disclosed.
Even though the woman has been arrested and charged with sex crimes, she is not automatically considered guilty. Any North Carolina resident who is accused of sex offenses deserves the same type of unbiased legal proceeding that is afforded to those facing other charges. Defendants who find themselves defending a consensual sexual relationship have the right to a fair trial and other legal processes.
Source: WRAL, "Former Durham teacher arrested on student-related sex offenses," Sloane Heffernan, July 7, 2014.