WINFIELD, Kansas – A Winfield High School teacher faces a felony charge after investigators say she took a student-teacher relationship too far.
Instead of preparing for the new school year, 24-year-old Ashley Eck is appearing before a judge.
Quietly listening to charges against her, the young teacher is accused of having unlawful sexual relations with a student over the age of 16.
Eck has worked as an English teacher at the school for a year and a half. According to court records, Eck and the student engaged in inappropriate relations starting sometime around December 2012. An investigation into the case began in May.
Eck was arrested Tuesday morning, but has since bonded out. She has been suspended with pay.
“The Winfield Public School system will continue to focus on keeping our students safe, helping them feel secure, and providing them with an excellent education,” said Superintendent JK Campbell. “We hope that as the new school year begins, we are able to settle back into a routine that best serves children and learning.”
Mina Eggleston says she worked closely with Eck in Eck’s classroom. She finds the allegations hard to believe.
“My heart breaks for her, it honestly does,” said Eggleston. “She’s a beautiful, young, single mother, she just got out of college, this was her first position. She had her whole career ahead of her. That’s a lot of time and money invested in her career. What is going to happen to her now?”
If found guilty, Eck could face up to 11 years in prison, along with a $300,000 fine. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for October.