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Married Texas middle school teacher accused of multiple sexual encounters with student she met at church

December 19, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Married Texas middle school teacher accused of multiple sexual encounters with student she met at church

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A 31-year-old married teacher in Texas is facing accusations that she had multiple sexual encounters with a 16-year-old high school boy while working as a youth ministry volunteer.

Middle school educator Nichole Marie Faires Andrews was arrested on Tuesday and was charged with child sexual assault and having an improper relationship with a student. Her bail was set at $50,000. She posted on Wednesday.

Andrews taught English Language Arts at Cedar Park Middle School in the Leander Independent School District from 2015 until she submitted her resignation on November 6th. The victim, a 16-year-old male, was enrolled in Vandegrift High School. The two met in June at The Church at Canyon Creek in Austin where Andrews was as a youth administrator volunteer, KXAN reported.

According to KXAN, on October 25th, the district learned the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into an inappropriate relationship between Andrews and the boy. The Leander district put Andrews on administrative leave that day. School officials indicated that these sexual acts did not take place at any district functions or facilities.

On November 28th, the teen told investigators that he had “sexual contact” with Andrews 11 to 12 times. The purported victim also told authorities that Andrews sent a topless photo to him over social media. Court records indicated that Andrews knew the teen was a student at the school when they had sex on June 1st.

Monty Watson, the pastor of the church, told KXAN: “Our hearts go out to the victim and the family, we ask for prayer for all involved. We are fully cooperating with this investigation.”

If found guilty, Andrews is facing up to 20 years behind bars.

This year, Texas legislators passed Senate Bill 7 to reduce the state’s shocking epidemic of educator-student sexual misconduct. Cases increased over the last nine years, leading to a record 302 probes opened by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in 2016-2017. According to Breitbart Texas, this reflected an increase of 36% from the 222 cases opened in 2015-2016, and a 145% increase since 2008-2009, when 123 cases were opened.

In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 7, which went into effect in September. It addresses loopholes, imposes stricter penalties on those convicted, and holds school administrators accountable with prison sentences and fines if they fail to report this behavior.

Before SB 7, it was not a crime when a teacher had an intimate sexual affair with a student who was 17, and if the educator worked in a different district than where the student attended. SB 7 criminalized such behavior.

Additionally, education professionals convicted of sexual misconduct will now lose their teaching credentials and forfeit their pensions even when they only receive deferred adjudication as punishment.

The law also obliges teachers, in general, to participate in ongoing professional development courses that reinforce boundaries, relationships, and communications with students. SB 7 requires that districts adopt written policies that define appropriate electronic communication among employees and students to prevent social media communications from spiraling off into lewd texts and inappropriate sexual activities.

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