Texas teacher Haeli Wey was on a trip to Africa with the family of one of her students when she and the 17-year-old first became intimate, the teenager told police, according to an affidavit obtained by 48 Hours' Crimesider.
Wey, a former math teacher at Westlake High School, in Austin, Texas, was arrested on Dec. 17 on two counts of felony improper relationship between educator and student, for a pair of alleged months-long relationships with teenage boys. Police say the alleged crimes occurred during the summer and fall of 2015. Under Texas law, it is illegal for teachers to have sex with students, even if they are at least 17 years old, the state's legal age of consent.
One victim allegedly told police he met Wey at a "student ministry program" in June, and that later in the summer she accompanied his family on a trip to Africa.
"The victim said while in Africa his relationship with Ms. Wey become more personal and on a deeper level," a detective wrote in the affidavit. "The victim stated while in Africa their relationship became physical."
The victim allegedly told police he had sex with Wey more than 10 times after the trip, but stopped the relationship after he heard a rumor that she went on a hike with the second alleged victim.
Police say the first victim later told his parents about the relationship, and they contacted authorities.
"There were a lot of rumors at school about (Wey and the second victim) 'hooking up,'" a detective wrote, adding that the teen at first denied the rumors, which were fueled by alleged Instagram messages between the two.
The second victim said Wey invited him on a hike, which lasted about two hours, before they allegedly went to a secluded area and had sexual contact.
The victim, asked by a detective if he expected to have sex on the hike, allegedly said yes, and added, "a teacher just doesn't hang out with a student to hang out."
The affidavits also allege that Wey tried to keep the relationships under wraps, at one point instructing the second victim on how to erase their conversations.
"Delete our convo (sic) from Instagram please and don't let anyone get a hold of ur (sic) phone," she allegedly texted the victim.
And to the first victim, after finding out about the police report, she allegedly asked, "What did you tell them?" And, "Why did you tell them?"
Wey was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court on January 7.
In an interview Tuesday with Crimesider, Wey's attorney, Larry Sauer, said the case can't be judged on the information available in affidavits. Sauer said the affidavits mostly mention texts and social media as evidence, which he said prosecutors "take as gospel ... but those things are not always entirely accurate."
Sauer noted that Wey has not been indicted in the case, so he has been unable to review evidence. He said the case has gotten more coverage in the national media than other cases he's worked involving arrests for improper relationship between educator and student.
"I think because she's an attractive young woman, that it's drawn a lot more attention than if it was a male," Sauer said.
It's a point supported by Charol Shakeshaft, a professor at Virgina Commonwealth University, who has researched sexual abuse allegations against teachers. In an interview Tuesday with CBSN, Shakeshaft said that while about 75 percent of teachers nationwide are female, just 33 percent of sexual assaults committed against students by teachers involve female suspects.
"What's different about stories of the women sexually abusing kids is that for a long time we didn't think women did it, and so it was the novelty," Shakeshaft said. "And secondly it's more voyeuristic. You put an attractive woman who is an abuser, there's a voyeuristic part of that."
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