Georgia teacher accused of having sex with students

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:02am

ATLANTA (CNN) -- A Georgia high school teacher was arrested Tuesday after being accused of having sex with seven students, one of whom was 15.

The Charlton County district attorney charged DaNita Wilson, 32, with seven counts of sexual assault, and more charges may still be pending, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

"After we began the investigation, there was enough that developed to arrest Ms. Wilson," bureau assistant special agent in charge Stacy Carson said. "The investigation is still ongoing."

Six of the victims are over the age of 16, the legal age of consent in Georgia, while the seventh was 15 years old, Carson said. One was a former student who has since graduated.

"Some of the (relationships) had been going on for at least one year or longer," Carson said.

Wilson has also been suspended with pay, in accordance with regulations, until she has a formal hearing regarding her employment.

District officials began the inquiry Monday after receiving a complaint about the teacher.

"We received information within the school system," said Charlton County Schools Superintendent John Lairsey. "The main meetings continued on Tuesday. At that point, we got the sheriff's office and GBI involved, and (Wilson) was removed from class before lunch."

Lairsey, who used to be the principal at Charlton County High School where Wilson worked, said he knew her.

"There was no reason, no indication, that this would occur," he said.

Wilson has been at the school for a decade, he said. She typically taught ninth-grade math.

Lairsey escorted Wilson to waiting local and state investigators, he said.

"I gave her a letter explaining her suspension, and I transferred her to their custody," he said. "There was very little dialogue."

High school Principal Joshua M. Howard sent a letter Wednesday informing all parents of "inappropriate conduct by an employee," offering counseling services to students and assuring parents of their children's safety.

"We are dedicated to the well-being to all of our students and are fully cooperating with the GBI and their investigation," Lairsey said. "Anytime a school system employee or teacher commits an act that is inappropriate, that gives us a black eye on educators everywhere."

Wilson's bond was set at $35,000, $5,000 for each count of sexual assault. No other court dates have been set.

Lairsey said a hearing regarding Wilson's job would be scheduled within 10 days.

"I will be recommending termination," he said. "We're just shocked and disappointed. And it's just hard to believe. Just disappointed and disheartened that people we put our trust in would violate that trust."

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