A 28-year-old former English teacher and tennis coach has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student in Denton County, Texas. Katherine Ruth Harper, who was pregnant at the time of her encounters with the teen boy, now faces six years in jail and 10 years on probation.
Reportedly, the improper relationship started either during or after the time the boy was a student at Tidwell Middle School in Roanoke, Texas, where Harper was employed. The Star-Telegram reported that an anonymous tip received by the Northwest Independent School District (NISD) in September 2016 led to an investigation.
After insufficient evidence was found to support the claims, the probe was dropped. However, a second tip placed through the school district’s website in December 2016 led to the discovery of the relationship and the fact that Harper was pregnant.
The Byron Nelson High School principal questioned the young man about the accusations. The boy broke down crying while he admitted that during June and July 2016, he and Harper texted each other, sent nude photos, and eventually began having sexual intercourse. These encounters took place at both the teacher’s and the student’s homes. Harper reportedly shared alcohol with the underaged boy.
“One thing led to another and she told me to ‘put it in’ and I did,” the arrest warrant reads.
According to FOX 4 News, Harper was placed on administrative leave while the investigation ensued. Investigators found proof of their cell phone communications including 76 messages sent between June 1 and July 31. The boy had also saved the pictures on his smartphone. Harper was later arrested on March 21, 2017, by the Trophy Club Police Department. She was booked at the Denton County Jail on charges of sexual assault and improper relationship with a teenager. Harper was later released after posting a $15,000 bond.
The teacher was eight months pregnant at the time of her arrest. Though rumored, there is no confirmation that the teen is the father of Harper’s child. She was both his English teacher and tennis coach while he was enrolled at Tidwell. There is also no word of what will happen to Harper’s child while she is in custody or after her release from jail.
Denton County first assistant district attorney Jamie Beck told The Telegram that Harper will serve the six-year prison sentence first. She will be placed on probation for 10 years following her release. Harper will then be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.