By Jesse Wood
Aug. 28, 2013. In late July, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office received a report of alleged inappropriate sexual activity by Amy Tilley Bower, a former fifth grade teacher at Cove Creek School, with then two minors.
The report stated that the inappropriate sexual activity occurred during the years of 1998 to 2000 and 2004 to 2006. According to documents filed in court, the two male students were 15 years old at the time.
Bower of Vilas was first employed during the 1996-97 school year as a substitute within the county school system. WCS spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said that she had a “couple leaves of absence” since then, but her last period of employment was as a fifth grade teacher at Cove Creek School.
Dr. Stephen Martin, human resources director for WCS, said – in an email – that the school system received her resignation on Aug. 19 and that her last day of employment was on Aug. 16.
Watauga County 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.
The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit noted that it received the complete cooperation and support of the Watauga County Schools in conducting this investigation.
As a result of the investigation Bower, who was born in 1968, was charged with two counts of “Sexual Activity with a Student” and two counts of “Indecent Liberties with a Child.”
Amy Tilley 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 Sept. 17, 2013.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to comment about this case as did Hagaman. Bower couldn’t be reached for comment immediately.
Aug. 28 Statement from Watauga County Schools
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.
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.”
The Watauga County Schools initially learned of the investigation on August 20th, the day after Ms. Bower resigned her position as a fifth grade teacher at Cove Creek School. Ms. 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. 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.
It is understandable that this news may generate concerns about student safety. 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. 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. We hope that the alleged misconduct of this one individual will not be allowed to tarnish the outstanding work of our personnel in the classroom and throughout our school system.