A married North Carolina mother of three and educator was arrested on Monday after having a months-long sexual relationship with a female teen student, officials said.
Laura Garrigus, 30, is accused of having an inappropriate physical relationship with a 17-year-old girl that began in October and ended about two months later, after the teen reported the teacher to police, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.
She resigned in December after the encounters were reported from the Cumberland International Early College on the Fayetteville State University campus, where she had worked since 2010, WTVD reported.
Garrigus was charged with four counts of taking indecent liberties with a student and two counts of sexual offense with a student, officials said.
Each charge is for a separate incident involving a physical encounter between Garrigus and the student, according to WTVD.
She was held on $50,000 and was ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, including her own children.
“Not even my own children?” she asked during her court appearance Monday.
“You will not be around any children under age 18,” Judge Cheri-Siler-Mack replied.
Garrigus has two sons and one daughter.
“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,” Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West told reporters.
While investigators suggested that the relationship between Garrigus and the girl was consensual and that the age of consent in the state is 17, the law prevents sex between a student and a teacher.
It was not clear if the teen was enrolled in any of Garrigus’ classes.
Garrigus professed her love for teaching on Edmodo, a social network for educators, saying: “I love teaching, I have the best kids (biological and school), super-duper husband and, yea.”
She posted on Facebook a number of times about forgiveness and looking beyond the need to “take revenge,” writing on February 1: “I think the best combination is to be strong AND intelligent. Forgiveness is for me, not them. But never ever will I be vengeful; that doesn't make you weak, it makes you evil.”
One day earlier, she posted: “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.”
She is due back in court in March.