A North Texas school counselor turned herself into authorities Thursday after allegations surfaced that she had a sexual relationship with a ninth-grade student for roughly a year.
During that time, she told the boy’s sister she would leave her husband for him. According to police, the inappropriate tryst ended abruptly when the teenager’s mother caught them naked in his bed.
Shannon Hathaway, 33, was a school counselor at Harwood Junior High in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford (HEB) Independent School District until Wednesday when she resigned from her job. Bedford police said that Hathaway’s attorney arranged for her to surrender to authorities at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department. There they charged her with the offense of having an improper relationship between an educator and student. Curiously, she smiled widely in her mugshot released by the county jail.
Hathaway’s arrest followed a month-long investigation conducted by the Bedford Police Department. Officers said they first learned about the school counselor’s concerning behavior on May 9. However, Hathaway’s sexual relationship with the teenager actually happened a year ago, during the 2016-17 school year, when the student was 17-years-old and in ninth grade at Harwood.
HEB ISD administrators immediately placed Hathaway on paid administrative leave while Bedford police investigated the allegations. The school district said it cooperated fully with local law enforcement, who also questioned the male victim about his relationship with the counselor.
The teenager told detectives he had sex with Hathaway two or three times at her home and about eight times at his family’s residence. He described the encounters as “consensual,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The teenager also said that Hathaway’s husband was away during the times the two had sex at her home.
Bedford police said the boy only broke off the inappropriate love connection when his mother walked in on them in his room and found them naked in his bed. The timing also coincided with when the teen began high school.
Turns out, the boy’s sister tipped off authorities about the romantic relationship, according to the arrest warrant. The girl shared that Hathaway said she was in love with her brother and said she would leave her husband for him. The sister also told investigators that her brother confided in her about having sex with Hathaway in her home, at their home, and possibly at the junior high school.
HEB ISD officials said they did not believe any sexual misconduct between the two occurred on school property. In a statement, they commented, in part: “The safety and security of our students is HEB ISD’s number one priority, and isolated incidents such as this one violate the trust between student, parent, and school personnel and will not be tolerated.”
Reportedly, Hathaway has no criminal history. As of late Thursday, she remained in the Tarrant County Jail, held on a $5,000 bond, according to KDFW.
Improper relationship between an educator and student is a second degree felony. If found guilty, Hathaway could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The Bedford Police Department encouraged all parents to talk to their children and report suspicions of inappropriate contact.
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