Friday, June 21, 2024

Junior high teacher arrested for inappropriate relationship with student

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Gatesville Independent School District police arrested Christine Paige Cockrell, a Gatesville Junior High eighth grade earth science teacher, on Friday, May 3, on two charges regarding an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old high school student.

On Thursday, April 11, Gatesville ISD was notified that a student allegedly received inappropriate messages from 54-year-old Cockrell. According to two filed complaints, the student revealed during a doctor’s appointment that Cockrell had sent him “sexually explicit” messages through Instagram.

The complaint said, “During this time, the conversation involved meeting up for sex, but they did not do so.”

When questioned by school administrators, Cockrell admitted to messaging students on Instagram but could not “recall whether or not a photograph of her breasts had been sent in any of the chats.” 

The student and his mother told investigators that the messages occurred sometime between Oct. 8, 2023, and Oct. 11, 2023.  

The student also told police that Cockrell began messaging him sexually through Instagram in the middle of his eighth-grade year, which was approximately in January 2023. 

“During the conversation, Christine talked about many of her past sexual partners and things she enjoyed sexually,” the complaint states. “Christine mentioned that she wanted to take a younger guy under her wing and teach him stuff, like 16 years old.” 

The complaint also states that Cockrell would ask questions about the student’s genitalia. 

According to a second filed complaint, Cockrell revealed to school administrators that a former student, who now lives in Ohio, propositioned her for sex. 

After investigators contacted the former student, they learned that Cockrell messaged him through Instagram on his 17th birthday and told him that he was “cute.” When the student told Cockrell that he was only in high school, she responded with “no one has to know.” 

During the interview, investigators learned that Cockrell sent “a nude photograph of her breasts and a full nude photograph of herself” and requested a nude photograph of the student.

The complaint states, “A forensic search of Christine’s phone revealed two photographs of the student’s face, one on March 15, 2023, and the other on July 14, 2023.” 

A spokesperson for the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office said Cockrell was bonded out of jail on Saturday, May 4, on two bonds set at $10,000 for each count of Improper Relationship between Educator and Student. 

Gatesville ISD said Cockrell has been placed on administrative leave so law enforcement officials can fully investigate the allegation. She has since submitted her letter of resignation and is no longer permitted on Gatesville ISD property. 

Gatesville ISD asks that if anyone has any information regarding inappropriate communication or similar conduct, contact the Gatesville ISD police department at 254-865-8281, extension 5840.