Local News

Bond raised to $2M for former teacher's aide in student sex case

Posted July 6, 2009 10:59 a.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2009 7:12 p.m. EDT

— A judge set a $2 million secured bond Monday for former Durham County teacher's assistant accused of having sex with a 10-year-old student.

Gina Marie Watring, 40, of 106 Cricket Ground, was arrested Saturday on a charge of obstruction of justice after Durham County Sheriff's Office investigators said she continued to contact the student in the case.

Watring was initially charged April 29 with two counts of first-degree sex offense with a child. Investigators said she had sex with a Creekside Elementary School student on April 10 and April 21. She's since been charged with first-degree kidnapping, felony child abduction, rape of a child by an adult offender, sex offense with a student and indecent liberties with a child.

The boy told investigators that he and Watring had intercourse twice at her home, according to court documents. School officials also discovered the sexual text messages between the two.

Watring was released on a $200,000 unsecured bond after her arrest and was ordered not to contact the boy while awaiting trial.

Investigators said the boy's mother found a cell phone Friday while her son was packing for summer camp. Watring had given the phone to the boy without his parents' knowledge, authorities said.

Assistant Durham County District Attorney Jan Paul said the boy reacted violently when his mother confronted him about the cell phone. He pulled a knife on his mother, punched her, threw a hammer at her, jumped from a second-story window and tried to run off before the family was able to restrain him, Paul said.

Watring had sent at least one photo to the cell phone, investigators said, but they declined to discuss the nature of the photo or the subject of any text messages found on the phone.

Paul said Watring told the boy in voicemail messages left on the phone that she loved him and missed him and that her husband was mad at her and she would probably be sent to prison.

The boy's parents also found two notes from Watring in his room, Paul said. Investigators said they believe Watring started contacting the boy back in May, although an arrest warrant states she contacted him between June 29 and July 3.

Paul asked that Watring's bond be revoked to ensure she couldn't contact the boy again, but defense attorney Mark Edwards said Watring could live with relatives in California until the trial.

Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback imposed a $2 million bond for the initial charges. A Durham County District Court judge ordered a $100,000 secured bond on the obstruction charge in a separate hearing Monday.

"I'm very troubled by this and troubled by the effect that it is having on this very young person. He's been damaged mentally," Stanback said.

Watring resigned from Creekside Elementary in Durham following her initial arrest.