Published January 07, 2008
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. – A high school gym teacher was charged with sending nude pictures of herself and sexually suggestive cell phone text messages to a 14-year-old freshman at the school.
Beth Ann Chester, a 26-year-old health and physical education teacher at Moon Area High School in suburban Pittsburgh, was arrested Friday and charged with child sexual abuse, statutory sexual assault and related counts, authorities said.
Police said the married Chester had sent the boy three pictures of herself, two of them naked, by cell phone on Dec. 22, and the boy replied with a naked picture of himself.
The boy denied having physical contact with Chester, but there probably was contact, Moon Township Police Chief Leo McCarthy said. The boy also told police he "felt he was in love with the teacher now," police said.
McCarthy also said Chester made "substantial admissions" to police.
Police began investigating after Moon Area School District officials reported Thursday that Chester may have had inappropriate contact with a student.
The boy's parents had discovered suggestive text messages and then met with Chester on Dec. 26, police said. She handed in her resignation the next day, citing personal reasons. Authorities said another teacher had told school officials last week that she believed the resignation was related to messages that Chester had sent to a student.
The boy told police he and Chester began exchanging text messages in late October, and that they devised a system to spend extra time with one another at school, police said. In one message, police said, Chester called the boy "sexy" and made a graphic reference to his body.
She was being held in the Allegheny County jail after failing to post $50,000 bond. Nobody has entered an appearance as her attorney, according to District Judge Mary Murray's office. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
Chester had remained on the school payroll pending the school board's formal acceptance of her resignation. School district attorney Jack Cambest said Chester has been employed with the district for more than two years.