ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Johns County English teacher accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student could soon be suspended without pay, a school district spokeswoman said.
Virginia Houston Hinckley, a 26-year old St. Augustine High School teacher, has been suspended with pay since October, pending the outcome of the investigation, but the superintendent is recommending at the next school board meeting, Dec. 8, that she be suspended without pay.
Hinckley, who lives in Jacksonville, turned herself in Wednesday at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office after learning a warrant for her arrest had been issued by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
She is charged with having unlawful sexual activity with a minor, which is a second-degree felony. She was released Wednesday after posting $10,000 bond.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the 16-year-old student said he became “flirty” with Hinckley, his English teacher, days after school began and that he and others commented on how she was pretty and how he “tickled” her.
The student initially asked for Hinckley's phone number. She said no, but the following day when he asked again, she gave it to him and told him not to tell anyone, the warrant said.
The two began exchanging text messages, including nude photos, according to the student. He said Hinckley sent him photos of her breasts and other body parts, the warrant said.
According to the warrant, the student would often go to Hinckley's classroom after school, and when they were alone one day -- on or around Aug. 18 -- they began kissing and touching. She suggested that they go to Treaty Park, on Wildwood Drive, and she followed him there.
The student got out of his vehicle and sat in the front seat of Hinckley's vehicle, where they kissed before moving to the back seat and having unprotected sex, the warrant said.
Later that day, Hinckley sent the student a text message that said, “You better keep your mouth shut about this.” They continued exchanging text messages for about a week and then stopped all communication, the warrant said.
Lisa Sopranzi said her son had Hinckley as a teacher this year and was in the same class as the 16-year-old student.
“It’s not right, and I think more and more things like this are happening," Sopranzi said. “I don’t know what people think they are trying to get away with these days.”
The warrant said that on Oct. 15, a St. Augustine High School teacher overheard two female students talking about Hinckley having sex with a 16-year-old student. Four written statements were obtained from students about the incident, and then deputies questioned Hinckley. She told deputies that because she's a young, female teacher with a “bubbly personality,” she could be perceived as flirtatious.
She said she was aware of rumors but initially denied any physical contact with a student. Later she said that they hugged and that he gave her a peck kiss, according to the warrant.
Hinckley denied going to Treaty Park to have sex with the student. Her vehicle was seized and swabbed for DNA after deputies obtained a search warrant.
Two warrants for cellphone records revealed there was communication between Hinckley and the student, investigators said.
According to the arrest warrant, a witness saw Hinckley waiting for the 16-year-old before they went to Treaty Park.
According to her old classmates and friends, Hinckley is married and is expecting her first child next year.
School district officials said any steps beyond suspension will have to wait until after the outcome of the legal process.