Alexandria Vera, an 8th-grade English teacher at Stovall Middle School in Houston, Texas, was arraigned on Wednesday after voluntarily turning herself in for a felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to a report from The National Post.
Trigger warning: this story discusses child sexual abuse.
Vera was released on a $100,000 bail and is expected to return to court to stand trial as of July 12. Two days after her arrest, she appeared, accompanied by her lawyer, before Harris County Judge Michael McSpadden, who, hearing a summary of the case from Harris County assistant district attorney Tiffany Dupree, including that Vera had had sex with the boy on “an almost daily basis,” ordered her to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and to have no contact with anyone under 17 as a condition of her release. She will also be subject to a house curfew between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., must stay away from schools, have no contact with the victim and stay off the internet entirely.
If convicted of a felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, Vera faces a minimum 25-year sentence without parole. If any of the bail conditions are broken, she will be sent directly to jail.
Two months after an investigation was opened and eight months after they allegedly began having sex, a Harris County District Court judge issued a warrant for Vera’s arrest. The 24-year-old teacher allegedly told police investigators in April that the relationship with her 13-year-old student had started through messages on Instagram and had gradually turned into love; according to Vera’s account, their relationship was both approved and actively celebrated by the boy’s parents – and Child Protective Services are now actively investigating the parents for allegedly approving of Vera’s pregnancy.
She reportedly ended up having an abortion after CPS showed up at the school to question her.
As per The Independent, the police department didn’t begin investigating until Stovall principal Elsa Wright received a tip about Vera and got the police involved. Vera allegedly admitted to both Wright and investigators that she had an ongoing relationship with the boy for months, insisting that it was consensual on both sides. She told the police that she first met the boy during summer school in 2015 and described his behavior as rude: demanding her Instagram account name, then tracking her down and sending a request to follow after she refused to provide it or accept his request to connect.
According to court documents, the boy replied by asking for her phone number and asking if they could hang out together. Vera said yes.
She told police that she drove him around in a car and that they kissed; the next day, when his parents were out of the house, she returned and they had sex.
After that, she said, the sex had been almost daily. “She stated that she and the Complainant had sex on almost a daily basis at her home and that they love each other,” the court documents said.
The parents had reportedly known about the relationship since October when they came to the school for an open house – she returned to the house with the family, where she was introduced as the boy’s girlfriend. According to her, they were “accepting of the relationship,” and subsequently welcomed her at family functions.
In January, she learned that she was pregnant and claimed that the boy’s family were enthused by the news. In February, CPS showed up at the school, and when the investigation became public in April, she was immediately placed on administrative leave.
Police say that their investigation found many messages between Vera and the boy which essentially confirm her story.
The maximum sentence for continuous sexual abuse of a child in Texas is life in prison without parole.
[Image via Mongomery County Sheriff’s Office handout]