PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) — A Burgaw Middle School teacher issued her admission and an apology to the family of a 13-year-old boy after being charged with cyberstalking.
Elizabeth and Lynwood Graham said their son was texting back and forth with his teacher, Megan Mantooth, for two hours one night. They were concerned but didn't think much of it at first. However, when they checked their son's phone again they couldn't believe what they saw. Graphic text messages -- one reading "tired? i know i am.. in need of one long, long massage."
Mantooth also implied that she wanted to meet up with the student. So the Grahams took the phone and matters into their own hands. They sent messages back to Mantooth, pretending to be their son. The first test was to invite her to his baseball game to see if she would show up. When Mantooth showed up, the Graham's fears were confirmed. The biggest test was to invite Mantooth to the family's beach house.
"We knew then that if she came to the ball park to meet him, she'd definitely go to the beach house to meet him," said Elizabeth Graham.
However, the Grahams asked for the Sheriff's Office to step in and Mantooth was arrested.
Thursday, the teacher signed a guilty plea and wrote an apology letter to the family. She got three years probation, a punishment the Grahams said could have been much worse.
"We could have followed through with the meeting at the beach house and it would have turned into a felony," said Elizabeth.
Mrs. Graham claims that Mantooth blamed postpartum depression as the reason for her actions.
"Our son is immature and wouldn't have done anything…wouldn't have followed through with it," said the father of the boy, Lynwood Graham.
Bowman says if she follows the guidelines of her probation for the next three years, the case will be dismissed. She is not to have any contact with the family.
As part of her deal, Mantooth can't teach for three years while she is on probation.
Copyright 2011 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard