Married Asst. Principal Accused of Having Sex With Student for Months Sheds Tears Before Judge

Lisa Rothwell of North Carolina is being held on a $1 million bond after being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student she was tutoring

Lisa Rothwell
Photo: Gaston County Sheriff's Office

The alleged sexual relationship between a married assistant principal and a 17-year-old male student she’d been tutoring was no secret at the North Carolina high school where she worked, say authorities.

“There was some chatter among students that was passed back and forth, which made its way to school administration, which then got reported to us,” Gaston County Police Capt. Billy Downey said Monday, the Gaston Gazette and local station WSOC 9 report.

On Friday, after police spoke to assistant principal Lisa Rothwell, 34, at her home, she was arrested and charged with six counts of felony sexual activity with a student by a school employee, local station Fox 46 Charlotte reports.

Rothwell allegedly engaged in sex and oral sex with the student between April 1 and July 31, arrest warrants obtained by the Gaston Gazette show.

On Friday night, Rothwell appeared — in tears — before a Gaston County magistrate, who ordered her held on a $1 million bond at the Gaston County Jail because of “the seriousness of the charges,” the Gaston Gazette reports.

She has been suspended with pay from her $66,000 a year job at Stuart Cramer High School in Belmont, WSOC 9 reports.

Rothwell also shed tears when she made a court appearance via jailhouse video on Monday, WSOC 9 reports.

Her husband, who is a teacher, was in court for the brief hearing, where her attorney, Trippe McKeny, asked the judge to reduce her bond.

“There is no history of any criminal charges at all in my client’s life,” McKeny told the judge, local Charlotte station Fox 46 reports.

“My client has helped a lot of children in the Gaston County community,” he said.

Still, the judge said no.

The judge will make her final decision on Friday when she hears from the 17-year-old victim in court, the Gaston Gazette reports.

It is unclear whether he is still a student at the school.

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The alleged relationship between the two began when Rothwell began tutoring the student, Downey said, the Gaston Gazette reports.

“The assistant principal in this case was helping the young man with some issues related to school,” he said.

The alleged sexual activity took place off campus, Downey said.

The Gaston County Police and Rothwell’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

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