A teacher and assistant softball coach in Madison County, Alabama has been arrested on charges of having sexual contact with a student. Catherine Lynn Coffey was booked into the Madison County jail on Feb. 28 on felony charges of being a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student and sexual contact with a student younger than 19.
According to AL.com, a sheriff's office spokesman said that Coffey had been released on $31,000 bail. The 22-year-old assistant coach is accused of having sex with a student from Madison County High School. The alleged sexual contact occurred between August and December 2019.
Coffey was an assistant softball coach at the high school and was a special education teacher at Madison County Elementary. Tim Hall, a spokesman for Madison County Schools, said that she had been placed on administrative leave following her arrest.
According to online records for the Department of Education, Coffey received her Alabama teaching certificate on July 18, 2019, just one month prior to the alleged sexual misconduct began. The certificate listed her as a Collaborative Special Education Teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade.
Following her arrest and subsequent release on bail, Coffey turned in a letter of resignation. Her personnel file was obtained from Madison County Schools by WAAY31, which revealed that she had turned in the letter on Feb. 29, the day following her arrest.
"It deeply saddens me to inform you of my resignation. However, given the allegations against me, I feel it is in the best interest of the school," Coffey reportedly said in the letter.
The Madison County Board of Education held a special session on March 3 to accept the resignation of an employee. However, the identity was not revealed due to this being a personnel matter.
The investigators learned of the allegations of sexual misconduct on Feb. 24 and conducted an interview with the student in question. Further details about the individual were not released to the public in order to protect their identity.
"Once our agency received these criminal allegations, a case report was generated, and an investigation was conducted immediately," Sheriff Turner said in a statement, per AL.com.
If Coffey is convicted of sexual misconduct, she will face up to 30 years in prison. She will also spend her life on the sex offender registry.
Photo Credit: Paul Bersebach/Orange County Register via Getty Images