Local News

Warrant: TA, student exchanged sexual banter in texts

Posted April 30, 2009 10:54 a.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2009 9:14 a.m. EDT

— A former teacher's assistant exchanged text messages with a student that "included verbiage which was sexual in nature," according to a search warrant released Thursday.

Gina Marie Watring, 40, of 106 Cricket Ground in Durham, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree sex offense with a child.

Watring was a teacher’s assistant at Creekside Elementary School in Durham, and an arrest warrant stated she had sex with a student on April 10 and April 21.

Authorities haven't disclosed the age of the student.

Investigators seized cell phones, picture cards, 10 green pills and a note with "Gina" written on it from Watring's home, according to a search warrant.

In the affidavit for the search warrant, investigators said a student found a note signed by the alleged victim that said, "Gina, I love you so much babe. I'm so lucky I have you. I'm glad you feel the same way. I want to be with you forever. I'd never do anything to hurt u."

Creekside Elementary administrators questioned the boy and also discovered the sexual text messages, the affidavit said.

The boy told Durham County Sheriff's Office investigators that he and Watring had intercourse twice at her home, according to the affidavit.

The boy's mother told investigators she was concerned about her son's relationship with Watring and asked both of them to end it. Watring would sometimes bring her son home late, or she would have to call and ask where they were, the mother told investigators.

Defense attorney Steve Monks asked that Watring's bond be reduced from $100,000 to $20,000 during a brief court appearance Thursday morning, but District Judge Brian Wilks denied the request.

Watring needed a lower bond, Monks said, because her family recently opened a restaurant and all their money was tied up in the venture.

Monks said he was representing Watring only for her initial court appearance because he knows her through a Sunday school program at his church. He called her "a wonderful person" who has been married for 13 years and has three children.

"I do not know whether there is any physical evidence. I doubt very seriously if there is," Monks said.

Wilks appointed a public defender to represent Watring and set her next court date for May 13.

Watring worked for Durham Public Schools from Nov. 15, 2006, until she resigned Tuesday, officials said. According to Creekside Elementary's Web site, she taught dance and drama at the school.