West Ashley teacher arrested for having sex with student - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

West Ashley teacher arrested for having sex with student

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Former West Ashley teacher Eric Helms was arrested Friday afternoon after being charged with one count of sexual battery on an 18-year-old student.

According to police, the victim was a teacher's aide for Helms. The Deputy investigating the incident tells News 2 the high school senior was a part of the Teacher Cadet program at the high school. That program allows students to spend part of their school day helping teachers with errands around the school. The relationship began back in January of this year as simple text messages, but it quickly escalated. Police say Helms and the victim had sex at his home on Riser Street in Charleston many times.

William Flowers lives across the street from Helms and says the former teacher was quiet.

"He mostly kept to himself. I think he has lived over there for six months that I know of, and he never speaks to anyone. He just kind of comes in and goes. He never made an effort to speak to anyone." Flowers said.

West Ashley High School's principal alerted police after hearing rumors of the relationship earlier this week. Even though the relationship is considered consensual and the victim is 18-years-old, Helms is still facing a felony charge.

"Under the statute, even though it's consensual if that position of authority is being used to gain or maintain that relationship, then it's a violation under that statute," Major Jim Brady said.

The statute Brady is discussing is Section 16-3-755 (D) of the S. C. Code of Laws. The statute was sponsored by several upstate lawmakers back in 2009 and was signed into law in 2010. It states:

"If a person affiliated with a public or private secondary school, has direct supervisory authority of over a student, and engages in sexual batter with the student, the person is guilty of a felony."

The Deputy investigating this incident tells News 2 this is the first time she has had to deal with a case regarding this statute.

The Charleston County School District says the teacher is no longer employed with the county. Helms was given a $5,000 dollar bond Friday afternoon. He will make his first court appearance in June. The maximum penalty for this felony is five years.

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