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Teacher accused of sex abuse waives hearing

May 12, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A female Musselman Middle School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male student waived her right to a preliminary hearing in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, records show.

The state's case against Stephanie Jo Walters, 27, of 40 Grindstone Drive in Hedgesville, W.Va., will be bound over to circuit court, where it can be presented to a grand jury for indictment consideration.

Walters is charged with one felony count of sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust to a child and has been placed on administrative leave by the school district pending a board of education hearing.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday, but a waiver signed by Walters and apparently filed with the court by her attorney, B. Craig Manford, was recorded Tuesday in the magistrate court clerk's office, records show.

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The student allegedly involved with Walters told a Berkeley County Sheriff's Department investigator that he obtained the teacher's mobile phone number at a basketball game in December 2008, and began receiving text messages of a sexual nature from Walters in February, according to a complaint that was filed in magistrate court.

The boy also said he received sexually explicit messages from Walters through the MySpace social networking Web site, Hall said.

Last month, Walters allegedly approached the student during lunch and they went to a janitor's closet in the school, where they kissed and she allowed him to touch her breasts, but not beneath her shirt.

The student also said Walters touched his chest and arms while they kissed, police have said.

The school's principal learned about the alleged relationship from a female student who received a text message from Walters that detailed Walters' alleged contact with the student, police have said.

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