McKEESPORT (KDKA) — A former South Allegheny Middle School teacher has been fired and is facing charges after police say inappropriate text message exchanges were discovered allegedly between him and one of his students.
Cole McLaughlin, of Belle Vernon, is facing corruption of minor charges. He was arrested at Allegheny County Police headquarters on Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, the text messages were first discovered by the 12-year-old student’s father who reported it to the school district.
McLaughlin was hired by the district just last year. He was a Social Studies teacher.
The criminal complaint reports McLaughlin “admitted to contacting” the girl using his phone. Police say he also told them he hugged her on multiple occasions and kissed her twice.
In one of the alleged texting exchanges, the criminal complaint reports, McLaughlin wrote, “I love everything. I just want you to be close to me. So badly. I love you so much…”
According to the criminal complaint, McLaughlin also allegedly texted the girl saying, “I love you too angel. I miss you.”
Investigators say “McLaughlin stated to us that he knew the contact was inappropriate and wrong.”
The South Allegheny School District sent home a letter to parents on Wednesday.
It said McLaughlin was fired and not allowed on school property or to have any contact with any other students.
It reads in part: “This former Middle School Teacher was no longer an employee of the South Allegheny School District as of yesterday afternoon and was a first year teacher who was hired by the School District in August of 2014 based on an exhaustive background check and interview process which provided no indication that the teacher would engage in any misconduct with a student. That former Middle School Teacher did not report for work on Monday; was not permitted to report for work yesterday; and has had no contact with any students or any teaching presence in any school buildings since the School District first became aware of alleged misconduct.”
South Allegheny graduate Tyler Minarchin, of Glassport, said of the arrest, “How are you going to be a teacher? It’s disgusting; you are supposed to be a role model.”
The incident remains under investigation by Allegheny County Police and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.