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Former Godley High teacher's aide arrested on charge of improper relationship with student

A Godley High School teacher's aide who resigned this month after allegations arose that she had sent text messages with "sexual overtones" and nude photographs to a 17-year-old student was in the Johnson County Jail on Friday, facing a felony charge of an improper relationship between an educator and student.

Ashley E. Applegate Coleman, 27, was arrested Thursday at her home by Godley police on a warrant for the second-degree felony. Bail was set at $50,000 for the married mother of three children.

Godley Police Chief James Healy said investigators have also identified a former student who claims Coleman sent him a nude photograph last year.

"There's no evidence to indicate there was actually any physical contact with students from this year or last year," Healy said. "Obviously, the case remains open. Once this [goes public], I'm sure there could be other possible students that come forward with allegations."

Godley Superintendent Paul Smithson said Coleman worked for the district for a couple of years and served as an educational aide for the high school's Distance Learning program. He said district has informed the Texas Education Agency about the case.

"We were made aware of the situation and took care of it," Smithson said.

He said school officials had not previously received complaints of such a nature about Coleman.

The allegations came to light earlier this month after another student told a teacher about texts Coleman was rumored to have sent the 17-year-old student. The teacher, in turn, notified the school's principal, Healy said.

"The school contacted the mother; the mother spoke to her son, who denied it," Healy said. "She went to his Facebook, saw messages that she felt were inappropriate and confronted the son. At that time, he admitted it."

Godley police were notified soon after, on Jan. 7, and began an investigation.

"It doesn't matter if they're 12 or 18 years of age," Healey said of the student's age. "There's a line that cannot be crossed. ... When it comes to student/teacher relationships, the age does not matter."

Coleman, who resigned Jan. 10, has refused to speak to police but denied wrongdoing to school officials.

"When confronted at the school, I was advised she denied sending any text messages," Healy said.

Healy said that during the course of the investigation he was given the names of other students who may have received similar photographs from Coleman last year.

"I was able to get a written statement from one of them who said, yes, he was with friends last year on the way to Padre Island for spring break when he was sent similar photographs," Healy said.

Healy said in both cases, other teens have confirmed to police that they were present when the photographs were received by the students.

Healy said the teen who received the photograph last year "has given me no indication he wished to pursue any charges."

"He stated any photographs or statements sent to him have been deleted or are gone," Healy said.

Healy said police have recovered one of the photographs sent to the 17-year-old teen. He said the Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Force is conducting a forensic analysis on the teen's phone and a thumb drive provided by a witness to retrieve other potential evidence in the case.

Healy said the cellphone that police believe Coleman used to send the messages to the student is now gone.

"The assumption has to be made that the phone was disposed of once the investigation started because the phone she had when she was brought into the school district office was an iPhone, and that's not the phone she has now," he said.

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