Bond set at $5,000 for teacher accused of having sex with student

West Ashley teacher arrested
Eric Helms (Source: CCDC)
Eric Helms (Source: CCDC)

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Bond was set at $5,000 Friday night for a former West Ashley High School teacher accused of having sex with a student.

Charleston County sheriff's deputies arrested 27-year-old Eric Helms on Friday and charged him with one count of sexual battery with a student.

Officials say Helms had sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old student several times while employed as a teacher at West Ashley High School.

Court documents state the relationship began on January 1, 2013.

The student told officials the relationship started when Helms texted her and asked to hang out. The senior agreed and "it kept going from there."

Deputies say Helms engaged in sexual relations with the student at his home a number of times.

According to a Charleston Police Department incident report, Principal Mary Runyon approached the school resource officer on Tuesday in reference to a teacher having "sexual relations" with a student.

Sheriff's office spokesman Major Jim Brady said although the victim acknowledged the relationship and it was believed to be consensual, Helms' position as a direct supervisory authority over the student violates 16-3-755 S.C. Code of Laws.

Section 16-3-755 (D) of the S.C. Code of Laws reads:

If a person affiliated with a public or private secondary school in an official capacity has direct supervisory authority over a student enrolled in the school who is eighteen years of age or older, and the person affiliated with the public or private secondary school in an official capacity engages in sexual battery with the student, and aggravated coercion or aggravated force is not used to accomplish the sexual battery, the person affiliated with the public or private secondary school in an official capacity is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than five years.

Helms is no longer employed with the school district, according to Charleston County School District spokesman Jason Sakran.

Helms, a Columbia native, studied secondary education at the College of Charleston, according to his Facebook page.

The former teacher is being held at the Charleston County Detention Center. Helms is expected to be back in court on June 21, 2013.

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