A 36-year-old high school history teacher in the suburban sprawl southeast of Houston is facing felony charges for allegedly showering a 16-year-old student with gifts, openly taking her on a date to a local Olive Garden and carrying on a sexual relationship with her.
The charges against Pasadena Memorial High School teacher Paul Edward Tate include indecency with a child and having an improper relationship with a student, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Police say the relationship between Tate and the unidentified girl was quite a whirlwind of romance.
Tate and the girl were spotted at various restaurants including Olive Garden—and nothing announces a classy date quite like the casual dining chain that specializes in Italian-American cuisine.
On at least one outing, the girl allegedly wore a Pasadena High Mavericks spirit shirt.
A witness who saw the couple at Olive Garden reported that two lovebirds looked for all the world to be on a date. They even walked arm in arm through the parking lot, according to court documents.
In addition, Tate deluged the girl with gifts including clothing, a purse and a $200 Pandora bracelet.
An assistant principal told police he watched Tate buy the bracelet while on an apparently school-related field trip. Tate slyly told the assistant principal the piece of jewelry was for his mother, according to local ABC affiliate KTRK.
Upon interviewing the girl, a police investigator noticed she was wearing the bracelet. She admitted she got it from the history teacher. She also admitted that romantic sparks were flying fast between them. But she swore — swore — the relationship wasn’t sexual.
Investigators obtained the records of phone calls and texts between Tate and the 16-year-old girl. These records, they say, provide evidence that the teacher and the student had engaged in sexual intercourse. The girl also sent photos to the 36-year-old teacher of herself in lingerie.
School officials told the Chronicle that the history teacher is very popular among students. They were also quick to note that no incidents have been alleged to have happened on school property.
On Dec. 17, just before winter break, Tate was placed on administrative leave. It’s not clear if he is still receiving a paycheck. He has been employed by the school district since 2009.
Local parents are, of course, shocked at the allegations.
“We always would see him at activities, as far as sports, athletic stuff, and stuff like that. Supportive of the kids,” Kenneth Dinsdale, a veritable parent on the street, told KTRK-TV. “In fact, my son was wanting to have him in one of his classes, because he is so involved with the kids and then to hear this, it’s just unbelievable.”
The bail for Tate is $40,000.