A Texas high school math teacher has been jailed for sexual assault, after the discovery of online messages she allegedly sent to a 15-year-old student, including one that mentioned “fun in the back seat,” police say.
Erica Gomez, 23, was arrested Monday, according to Austin Police Det. Brandon Poe, who spoke at a Tuesday news conference. She is also charged with having an improper relationship between educator and student, Poe said.
Gomez remains incarcerated in lieu of $75,000 bond as of Wednesday afternoon, according to online records posted by the Travis County jail. She faces a potential maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Gomez and the boy allegedly used Snapchat to communicate, police say. In one message to the boy, Gomez allegedly wrote “Babe ... We’ve had car sex twice ... Like that blows my mind LOL,” according to the Austin American Statesman, a local newspaper, which cited Gomez’s arrest warrant.
The affidavit also says Gomez admitted to police she and the boy had sex four to five times, the newspaper reports.
“I did interview her, and there was a confession,” Detective Poe said at Tuesday’s news conference. “The confession corroborated the information that had been provided by the victim.”
The secret affair began to unravel Sunday morning, when the boy’s mother was awakened by the sound of the front door to the apartment she shares with her son open and close. When she checked on him, she found him in bed fully clothed, according to the Austin American Statesman.
That’s when she seized her son’s smartphone and discovered several sexually explicit Snapchat messages sent by someone with the screen name “Special.” When she clicked on the name, it revealed another name, “Ericadinora,” according to the Austin American Statesman.
After finding a photograph of Erica Dinora on Facebook, she recognized the woman as her son's former math tutor, who had since been hired as a teacher by the public high school he attends as a student, the paper reported.
“Based on the most recent information obtained, the district is taking action to terminate her employment and, as required by law, is reporting the incident to the Texas Education Agency,” school Principal Mark Robinson wrote in a letter sent to parents on Monday.
Catherine Clark, a parent of a student at the school, told WXAN, the NBC affiliate in Austin, that the case “just reinforces the need to have that continuous dialogue with our children about what is safe, what is appropriate and if something seems amiss or feels wrong then they need to bring it to our attention.”
[Photo: Austin Police Department]