Teacher's assistant gets prison sentence for sex with boy, 10

Staff writerSeptember 3, 2010 

— A former Creekside Elementary School teacher’s assistant will spend nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to having sex with a 10-year-old boy.

Forty-two-year-old Gina Marie Watring’s total prison term could exceed eight years, at the discretion of the Department of Correction. Watring pleaded guilty to two counts each of kidnapping, abduction, sex with a student and indecent liberties with a child.

Prosecutors dismissed two counts of child rape as part of the plea arrangement.

Watring will serve 58 to 79 months on the kidnapping and abduction charges then 3 years probation on the sex charges.

During her probation, Watring won’t be allowed to have any contact with the victim or his family or work with children under age 16. She plans to transfer her probation to Santa Barbara, Calif. She must register as a sex offender and have her mental health evaluated.

If Watring violates her probation, she faces an additional 16 to 20 months in prison.

In granting Watring a minimum sentence, Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan found that Watring’s “mental condition … significantly reduced the defendant’s culpability for the offense.”

Last year, while Watring was free on bail, the Durham County District Attorney’s Office charged her with obstruction of justice after it alleged she left a cell phone for the boy at a stop sign so they could communicate, in violation of her bond order.

The boy's mother found the phone in his backpack, according to prosecutors, and confronted him. He reacted by making verbal threats and kicking out a bedroom window, they said.

The incident was dismissed as a criminal charge and treated as a bond violation.

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or 919-932-8760

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