A former Keller middle school drama teacher admitted to a school official that he had sex with a 17-year-old student in October and November, but he didn’t believe he was committing a crime because she was an adult and not a student at his school, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Tuesday.
Chad Eric Bearden, 34, gave school officials a statement about his actions a few days ago and resigned on Jan. 3, the affidavit stated.
Bearden, who taught drama at Hillwood Middle School, is accused of taking the 17-year-old student to his Haltom City apartment at least twice last year and having sex with her.
He surrendered to authorities Thursday and was released Friday on $10,000 bail.
"We are continuing to work on this case," his attorney, Lex Johnston of Hurst, said Monday.
Hillwood Middle School is in Fort Worth but is part of the Keller district. The girl attended high school in the Keller district.
Under a law that took effect Sept. 1, an educator may not have a relationship with a student in the district where he or she is employed, even if the student is an adult. Previously, the law prohibited relationships between educators and students from the same campus.
An improper relationship is defined as sexual contact or sexual intercourse or online solicitation for sex.
For the crime of improper relationship between educator and student, the age of the victim is not an issue – the crime is based on the status of educator and student, according to the new law.
The new law specifically says that the crime is committed "regardless of the age of the person [student]."
If the Tarrant County district attorney's office accepts the case, it would be the first under the new law, Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the DA's office, said Monday.
The affidavit stated that on Dec. 22 Haltom City police received a call from attorney Amanda Bigbee, who represents the Keller school district, saying that school officials had received a report of a possible case of an improper relationship between a student and a teacher.
The student had told her parents that she had had sex with Bearden at his Haltom City apartment, according to the affidavit.
In an interview with detectives, the girl told authorities that she and Bearden had sex twice and a sexual act was performed at his apartment, the affidavit stated. These acts occurred between mid-October to November, according to the affidavit.
Bearden was hired in July 2001.
In 2011, five area teachers and a teacher's aide -- all women -- were arrested on suspicion of having improper relationships with students. A sixth teacher pleaded guilty in cases from 2010.
October: A former Richland High cheerleading coach was accused of having sex with a male student 10 to 15 times in her Keller home.
June: A former English teacher and cheerleading coach at Boswell High was accused of soliciting a 16-year-old student for sex.
June: A former Perrin High math teacher pleaded guilty in a Jack County court to four counts of improper relationship with two male students, 16 and 18.
May: A former Irving MacArthur High teacher who lived in Haltom City was accused of having sexual contact with a 16-year-old student at least 25 times in the 2009 school year.
May: A former English teacher and coach at Kennedale High was accused of having sex with five students at her Arlington home.
February: A teacher at the Arlington Newcomer Center was found in a pickup with an 18-year-old student in a "compromising" position.
January: A Godley High teacher's aide was accused of sending messages with sexual overtones and nude photos to a 17-year-old student.
Staff writers Eva-Marie Ayala and Sandra Engelland contributed to this report.
Domingo Ramirez Jr.,