Ex-teacher waives felony to court in student custody case

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 4:03 PM
Ex-teacher waives felony to court in student custody case

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former elementary school teacher who police say was obsessed with one of her 11-year-old students has waived a preliminary hearing on a felony charge that she interfered with the girl's legal custody.

Geraldine Alcorn, 29, of Pittsburgh, and her attorney declined to comment as they walked from a city magistrate's courtroom Wednesday.

In exchange for the waiver — which means Alcorn must now stand trial on the charge or take some kind of plea bargain — Allegheny County prosecutors dropped two other misdemeanors she faced: luring a child into a vehicle and corruption of minors.

Prosecutors, who also declined to comment, allege Alcorn encrypted her phone number on the girl's math homework, exchanged thousands of text messages with her and even talked of adopting and running away with the girl before Alcorn resigned last month.

The girl's mother, a single parent, complained to school officials after finding out Alcorn had visited the girl at their home while the mother was working.

The mother then found stickers and letters from Alcorn in the girl's school binder, plus two letters the girl wrote to Alcorn with three headings: "Things Ms. Alcorn and I can do," ''what we can do," and "when we can do it," the criminal complaint said.

The girl told police she and Alcorn kept their relationship secret and, among other things, Alcorn discussed adopting the girl or taking her from her home. Alcorn had told the girl that "they would be on the run for a while," if Alcorn followed through on that, police said.

Alcorn is not believed to have sexual feelings for the girl but allegedly told police of a "deep love" she has for her.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials learned Feb. 13 that "a teacher had developed an improper attachment" with a student at Pittsburgh Beechwood, a pre-K-5 school.

Alcorn resigned March 2. Police said she tried to contact the girl on March 13, a Friday, when Alcorn returned to gather her personal belongings. The following Monday, police said, the girl found "gifts and several letters, some encrypted, in her locker and desk," according to the criminal complaint. "The letters, written by Alcorn, instructed the 11-year-old female to contact her."

Alcorn hid her phone number on a math worksheet by telling the girl to dial numbers that had been circled, police said.