MISHAWAKA — A northern Indiana teacher faces a criminal count for allegedly sending sexually charged text messages to a former student who now is 12.
St. Joseph County prosecutors said Monday that 30-year-old Eric West faces a misdemeanor count of inappropriate communication with a child. They say he was the girl's fifth-grade teacher at Walt Disney Elementary School in Mishawaka. She's now a seventh-grader.
The mother of the girl told investigators she found more than 250 text messages from West's cellphone. Police arrested him last week.
A message seeking comment from West was left at a residential telephone listing for a man with that name in the Mishawaka area.
A spokeswoman for Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp. tells the South Bend Tribune and WSBT-TV that West has been placed on paid administrative leave.