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A former Watauga County elementary school teacher is facing charges after she's accused of having sexual relationships with students over a four-year period.
According to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, the Sheriff's Office got a report of inappropriate sexual activity by a teacher at Cove Creek School with then minor students.
Deputies received the report on July 23 that 45-year-old Amy Tilley Bower, a 5th grade teacher at the school, was involved in sexual relationships with students from 1998 to 2000 and 2004 to 2006.
Sheriff Hagaman reported that the Watauga County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Unit in conjunction with the District Attorney's Office conducted an investigation into the allegations.
Investigators also contacted and received the complete cooperation and support of the Watauga County Schools in conducting this investigation.
School officials say they learned about the investigation on August 20th, the day after Bower resigned her position at the school.
As a result of the investigation, Bower was arrested and charged with two counts of Sexual Activity with a Student and two counts of Indecent Liberties with a Child.
"The announcement today that a former Watauga County Schools teacher has been arrested on charges of inappropriate relationships with former students is very disappointing news about a matter of great concern to our schools and our community," a statement from the school district read.
Superintendent Dr. David Fonseca said that "If the allegations are true, the behavior violated the trust of students, the ethics of the teaching profession, our school system policies, and the law. We take such possible misconduct very seriously. We have fully supported and cooperated with the investigation of this case by the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and we are grateful for their work."
Bower was first employed with the school system as a substitute teacher for the 1996-97 school year. The allegations of inappropriate sexual activity reported to law enforcement are for the periods of 1998 to 2000 and 2004 to 2006.
"Should she be convicted, the criminal justice system will determine the appropriate legal consequences," school officials said in a statement. "In addition, the Watauga County Schools can and will initiate action to revoke her teaching license in NC if she is convicted of the charges."
Bower was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate and given a secured bond in the amount of $50,000 and given a court date of September 17, 2013.
"We want to reassure parents and everyone else that we continue to share their concern and that student safety continues to be our number one priority," school officials told WBTV.
"At the same time, it is important to emphasize that the charges in this case involve the alleged behavior of one individual. Our confidence in the integrity, professionalism, and commitment of our teachers and other school personnel remains fully intact."