UPDATE: Bond set for Burke County teacher accused of sending sexual messages

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Debra Tanksley (WRDW-TV)

BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW)- A Magistrate Judge set a $3,750 bond for Debra Tanksley Thursday, according to the Burke County Sheriff's Office.

Tanksley is charged with criminal attempt sexual assault and electronically furnishing obscene material to minors charges.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Debra Tanksley was the 2012-2013 Burke County teacher of the year.

Now, Tanksley is accused of sending sexual text messages to several students, but an alleged relationship with one student landed her behind bars.

"The text messages were very detailed as to what they wanted to do," chief investigator Dedric Smith said.

Tanksley is charged with criminal attempt sexual assault and electronically furnishing obscene materials to minors after allegedly sending a student text messages and pictures of a sexual nature.

"It started back in January, so there were a large number of text messages. There were several thousand," Smith said.

Tanksley isn't the only Burke County teacher accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student. Ashley Ashe, 25, has been charged with aggravated child molestation after allegations of a sexual encounter with a student.

Tanksley and Ashe were friends and Tanksley's name came up during Ashe's investigation, officers said.

"It's not uncommon you see on the news and different places similar type things happening, but we hope these are just two isolated incidences," Smith said.

Tanksley is also accused of fixing grades for the student.

"The text messages detailed what the student needed for GPA average and she went in and changed the grades in that particular class to get that student up to what the student wanted," Smith said.

In Burke County, having two teachers from the same school facing charges is a concern for investigators.

"We hope it's isolated incident not something that's going to open up Pandora's Box with other stuff coming forward," Smith said.

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