Teacher pleads guilty to sex charges
DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- Former Durham teacher's assistant Gina Watring pleaded guilty to sex charges Thursday and will serve time in prison followed by probation.
Wearing a yellow cardigan and wrapped in jail chains, Watring appeared in court for a plea deal in her case.
Prosecutors say Watring had sex with a 10-year-old Creekside Elementary School student in 2009.
She was set to go to trial later this month on multiple criminal charges.
On Thursday, Watring pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a student, kidnapping and indecent liberties. Combined, all counts totaled 846 months in prison.
Under the plea deal, the charges were consolidated, leaving Watring with a reduced sentence.
Watring has already served more than a year in jail.
She asked for 36 months of supervised probation in Santa Barbara, CA, where she'd relocate to live with her parents.
The judge sentenced Watring to a minimum of 58 months in prison. Afterwards, she'll be on three years of probation in California.
Also, the judge ordered her to stay away from the victim and his family. She has to register as a sex offender and can no longer work with children under 16-years-old while on probation. She is also ordered to take her medication.
According to prosecutors, Watring would remove the victim from the school bus line and talk to him in her classroom. This got the attention of other teachers and the boy's mother who brought her concerns to Watring - who arranged a meeting with the former teacher's assistant.
It was after this meeting that prosecutors say Watring had sex with the student at least twice. She even gave the boy cell phone so that they could arrange meetings. Prosecutors say Watring took the boy from his home at least twice.
In court Thursday, prosecutors read a letter written by the victim explaining - in explicit details - his sexual interaction with Watring. They say Watring told the boy she no longer loved her husband and that they were no longer intimate.
The victim's mother read a statement in court, calling Watring a "monster" and telling her "she's not a mother" because she hurt her own children. She says her son is in rage and hurt by this situation. He's been in counseling since his relationship with Watring was revealed. He's also had to transfer to different schools.
The family says it agreed to the plea because their son can't handle the stress of a trial.
According to the defense, Watring has undergone a psychiatric evaluation. She has bipolar and personality disorders. Her attorney says she wasn't on medication at the time, allowing her to become obsessed with her student.
Watring is taking medication now. Her attorney says she has great regret over this situation.
local/state, tamara gibbs
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