CROSS, SC - We have new information about the former Cross High School teacher accused of having sex with three of her students.
Ellen Niemiec, 29, faced a bond court judge Thursday evening.
As she entered the courtroom, family members of the three victims, two 17-year-old brothers and one 18-year-old, all Cross High School seniors, were in court.
According to the affidavits, on April 11th, Niemiec had sexual relations with each of the victims.
However, the attorney for the victims, Mike Bosnak, says there were multiple acts and locations. "It started off with kind of sexual talk and it ended up dirty talk and then it ended up texting pictures and it's our understanding that this teacher had, would have sexual talks with her class on numerous occasions. And it escalated from that into, you know, actual physical, the physical part of this."
Bosnak said he believes the sexual acts took part not just off the school campus, but at school as well.
Niemiec is married with three young children. I asked her attorney, David Aylor, if his client did what she is accused of. "If she did that, I'm not aware of it. Like I said, I don't know all the information on it and it's not a situation where we sat down you know it's early on in this process." He said they expect to learn more about this in the near future.
For the three charges of sexual battery with a student, the judge gave Niemiec a surety bond of just under $22,000. She was ordered on house arrest once she gets out. She can have no contact with current students at Cross High School, and she is not allowed to visit the Cross community. She is also not allowed to post anything about the case online.
Niemiec resigned her position with the school district. She turned herself into authorities earlier Thursday.
If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison for the two charges related to the 17-year-olds, and up to 30 days for the charge related to the 18-year-old student.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office has been investigating this case since receiving a complaint on April 28, 2014 in reference to the sexual battery of a student.
The investigation revealed that three students were victims of the suspect. Based on the ages of the students, two of the charges are felonies and one is a misdemeanor.
The investigation revealed that this conduct had been going on for several weeks prior to the Sheriff's Office being notified by the school principal.
Statement from the Berkeley County School District
The safety of all students is the top priority of the Berkeley County School District.
Under no circumstances does the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) condone or tolerate any inappropriate conduct between its employees and students.
When the administration learned of concerns with an employee's alleged conduct, the employee was placed on administrative leave and the District reported the matter to law enforcement to begin an investigation. Since that time, the District has cooperated completely with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office in its investigation, and we appreciate the Sheriff's Office ongoing cooperation.
We have learned today that the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office has charged the teacher with two felony and one misdemeanor counts of sexual battery with a student.
Ms. Niemiec is no longer an employee of the district.
We are limited in these circumstances as to what we can properly say publicly, because we must protect the confidentiality of all District students and their families and because there is an ongoing criminal investigation in this situation. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.
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