Teacher in court on sex charges

August 17, 2009 9:43:59 PM PDT
A Cumberland County teacher charged with having sex with a student, appeared in court Monday. Phillip Coffelt, 33, taught math at Terry Sanford High School. He was at the school for three and a half years, before he resigned.

On Monday, a judge refused Coffelt's request to reduce his $100,000 bond so he could get out of jail.

The judge told Coffelt he could face up to 17 and a half years in prison if convicted of the four felony sexual activity by school personnel with a student.

The 17-year-old female victim told authorities there were at least four encounters at Coffelt's home between February and April 2009. The sheriff's office later charged Coffelt on Friday.

A sheriff's department spokesman said even if the incidents were consensual, it was still a crime.

"He is still considered a person who is responsible for a person he is in charge of," Cumberland County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Debbie Tanna said. "And as her teacher he is responsible for her. He is responsible for adult behavior."

Coffelt remains at the Cumberland County Detention Center pending his next court appearance.


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