A teacher at Dowling Catholic High School has been detained for allegedly having s*x with a pupil.
On Friday, police detained 36-year-old Kristen Gantt on two counts of s*xual exploitation by a school employee. Authorities assert that Gantt, a teacher of English at Dowling High School in West Des Moines, had improper s*xual contact with a 17-year-old pupil.
According to a criminal complaint, Gantt told officers she had a romantic relationship with the student that included at least five instances of physical closeness.
The complaint states that each of the physical confrontations took place in Gantt’s classroom after the school day had concluded.
Police were able to find contacts between Gantt and the student on Instagram and email that looked to be intimate and flirtatious, according to a search warrant application submitted before Gantt was arrested.
Some of these Instagram chats, which the warrant application said were originally obtained by regional NBC affiliate WHO-13, show messages in which they both make arrangements to hang out outside of class and comment on each other’s appearances.
Investigators read some of the emails that contained emojis that may be interpreted as s*xual innuendos during an interview with the student. The kid said officers Gantt sought out “to provide support” while he suffered from family troubles at home, according to the warrant.
According to the search warrant, the student denied having a romantic relationship with Gantt and denied communicating with her outside of the classroom.
According to the accusations, the emails displayed “clear and concise grooming activity” and the talks that took place through their private email accounts had “more direct s*xual overtones.”
Police received security footage from the school that appeared to show Gantt and the student in her classroom alone themselves, with the door locked. The warrant states that a piece of paper is visible covering the window on the door.
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Additionally, administrators supplied police with separate transcripts of the interviews with the student, Gantt, and Dowling principal Matt Meendering.
According to the warrant, Gantt and the student both admitted in these interviews that Gantt was the student’s teacher and that they had exchanged emails about personal concerns at the time, but they both vehemently disputed that the conversations were improper.
Despite those denials, the warrant concludes: “Messages collected through numerous sources show that an ongoing relationship had taken place between the two which was s*xualized in nature, had occurred inside and outside of school grounds, and included numerous electronic platforms.”
No one from Dowling could be reached right away for comment. Gantt was no longer recognized as an English department faculty member as of Friday. If Gantt had hired a lawyer was not immediately evident.
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