Cumberland Times-News

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August 22, 2008

Mountain Ridge teacher arrested on student sex offense charges

Woman allegedly had ongoing relationship with teenager

FROSTBURG — A 24-year-old Mountain Ridge High School teacher was arrested late Wednesday on charges that she allegedly had sexual relations with one of her students over a several-month period.

Autumn Lee Leathers was charged with sex abuse of a minor, second-degree custodial child abuse, fourth-degree sex offense, perverted practice and second-degree assault following investigation by the C3I Unit and the Department of Social Services.

Leathers was being held Thursday in the Allegany County Detention Center on $25,000 bond, pending bail review in district court.

The Allegany County Board of Education said Leathers has been placed on administrative leave without pay, pending recommendation from the superintendent of schools to the board, according to Mia Perlozzo, the board’s public relations specialist. Leathers was hired a year ago and was assigned as an English teacher at Mountain Ridge.

According to court documents, the arrest stemmed from a citizen’s concern about a possible inappropriate relationship be-tween the student and teacher.

The victim, who was one of Leathers’ students, told police that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with her in May when he was age 15. He also told investigators that he had ongoing sexual relations with Leathers over the last three months at her residence in Frostburg, according to court records.

C3I said additional interviews were conducted and other evidence supporting the victim’s allegations was obtained.

Police obtained a warrant to search Leathers’ residence late Wednesday night and seized evidence that they believe to be pertinent to the investigation.

A C3I spokesman said investigators believe there may be additional victims as the investigation is continuing.

State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg declined to comment on the matter “since the investigation is ongoing,” he said.

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