A Texas high school counselor is facing criminal charges for allegedly having sex with a 12th grade student after the two began talking on Instagram, according to police.
Ellen Wermeling, 32, has been charged with one count of improper relationship between educator and student. She was booked Wednesday and released on $10,000 bond.
Wermeling, a counselor at MacArthur High School in Houston, is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Aldine Independent School District has been made aware of a MacArthur High School staff member being charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a MacArthur student,” the school said in a statement. “The district takes this allegation seriously and is fully cooperating with authorities.”
Police were made aware of the allegations after the student told a school football coach that he and Wermeling had sex on multiple occasions, according to a criminal complaint.
The school subsequently launched its own investigation, and turned over their findings to the Aldine ISD Police Department. Those findings included screenshots of the teacher and student’s alleged conversations on Instagram, the documents state.
Authorities then met with the student, who provided details of the alleged relationship:
Court documents state the student told police that on February 28 he messaged Wermeling, telling her “how bored” he was sitting at home with nothing to do.
The student told police Wermeling offered to pick him up so they could “hang out” together at her apartment, authorities said.
Once they arrived at her apartment, the student said he and Wermeling were watching a movie on her bed when he began massaging her shoulders. They removed each other’s clothes and began having sexual intercourse and oral sex, the student told police, according to the complaint.
The student said Wermeling picked him up again on March 6 and March 8 and brought him to her apartment, where they allegedly had sex on both occasions.
When confronted by the school, court documents state Wermeling denied ever having sex with the student and said he had never been at her apartment. She also denied speaking with the student on Instagram.
However, according to police, the usernames seen in the screenshots of the couple’s alleged conversations on Instagram were found to be registered to Wermeling and the boy.
According to court documents, investigators say Wermeling's Instagram account was closed on March 25, the same day she was contacted about the allegations.
“The staff member was removed from the campus once the district learned of the allegation and will not be returning,” the school’s statement added. “The safety and security of our students will continue to be a top priority in Aldine ISD.”
HLN reached out to Wermeling’s defense attorney, Christopher Carlson, but calls were not returned.
Online records show she is due in court Friday morning for a preliminary hearing.