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Former middle school teacher pleads not guilty to sex abuse

October 29, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A former Musselman Middle School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male student earlier this year was arraigned Thursday in Berkeley County Circuit Court on counts of sexual abuse and solicitation of a minor.

Attorney B. Craig Manford entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Stephanie Jo Walters, 28, of 40 Grindstone Drive in Hedgesville, W.Va., to counts of sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust, third-degree sexual abuse and solicitation of a minor through the use of a computer.

A trial was scheduled for Feb. 9 by presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh.

Walters was employed for about five years at the Inwood, W.Va., school before the Berkeley County Board of Education dismissed her from her job in May 2009.

The boy who police allege was involved with the teacher told officers in an interview that he got Walter's mobile phone number at a basketball game in December 2008 and began receiving text messages of a sexual nature from her in February, according to court records.


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

On April 3, Walters 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, police alleged.

Walters was married at the time of her arrest and had two young girls, according to county records and her attorney.

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