Cumberland County teacher accused of sex with female student

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
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A former Cumberland County teacher is accused of an improper relationship with a student.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WTVD) -- The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has charged a teacher with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student.

Investigators said that in early December, a 17-year-old female student alleged a physical relationship with 30-year-old Laura Garrigus, a Cumberland County School teacher working at the Cumberland International Early College on the campus of Fayetteville State University.

The relationship allegedly began in October, but investigators said none of the alleged encounters happened on-campus.

"I don't know if this was a student that she taught," said Sgt. Sean Swain, a spokesman with CCSO. "I just know that the child was in the school that the teacher was teaching in."

Garrigus, who has been with CCS since 2010, is now charged with four counts of taking indecent liberties with a student and two counts of sexual offense with a student.

Each of the counts represent a different sexual encounter between October and December, investigators said.

"We want our kids to be in a safe environment where they can learn when they're in their schools and these types of allegations are certainly not providing the type of environment we're hoping for," said Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West.

Despite the alleged victim's age, and regardless of consent, under state law, students and teachers may not engage in inappropriate relationships. Investigators said Monday that evidence in this case does point toward consent.

"I would say that based in the fact that from October to December that this happened, it went two months without being reported, they had known each other prior... I would (be) led to believe that it's a consensual," Swain said.

Bond was set Monday morning at $16,000, but raised to $50,000 during an afternoon court appearance.

Should Garrigus make bail, she will not be able to have contact with any children younger than 18, including her own, until the matter has been resolved in the court system. The instructions made Garrigus visibly disturbed.

"Do you understand that?" asked District Court Judge Cheri Siler-Mack, after she read the directive.

"Not even my own children?" Garrigus asked.

"You will not be around any child under the age of 18," Siler-Mack repeated.

Garrigus has another scheduled court appearance in March.

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