Dallas-area teacher accused of sex with student

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CARROLLTON, Texas — A 25-year-old, first-year teacher and former beauty queen faces criminal charges accusing her of having sex with an 18-year-old student.

Amy McElhenney, a Spanish teacher and cross-country coach, was charged with having an improper relationship with a student. The second-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.At 18, the Hebron High School student is one year past the age of consent in Texas. But McElhenney was charged under a law banning sexual relationships between educators and students even if the relationship is consensual and the student is of legal age.

Five Texas teachers have been convicted under the law since it went into effect in September 2003 and the close of 2005. Some say the law should contain provisions that distinguish for different ages and consent.

Police learned of the allegations against McElhenney when another student sent an anonymous note last month to a resource officer. The note indicated McElhenney’s cell phone had personal text messages to and from the 18-year-old.

"Messages that were on there led us to believe there was a little bit more going on between the teacher and this student," said Carrollton police Sgt. David Sponhour.

McElhenney told investigators she thought their relationship was inappropriate but denied having a physical or sexual relationship with the student, police said.

However, the student told investigators in a written statement that he and McElhenney began a relationship in February and had sex several times at her apartment.

Lewisville Independent School District officials placed McElhenney on paid administrative leave May 11, and she was arrested May 25. In March, McElhenney turned in a resignation effective that day.

McElhenney represented Bexar County in the Miss Texas pageant in 2002.

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