The first text that art teacher Jessie Goline allegedly sent her student was about class.
Then they started texting more frequently and soon their messages were no longer class-related, according to an affidavit filed in the circuit court of Craighead County, Ark. Sometime early last year, Goline picked up the student — who was not yet 18 — from the small city in northeast Arkansas where she was his teacher and drove him to her home about 45 minutes away in Jonesboro. There, Arkansas State police say, they had sex.
The same night, in the same apartment, Goline, 25, allegedly also had sex twice with another student.
Goline was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault. Police say that between January 2016 and April 2016, the former teacher had sex with four students from two school districts. One was allegedly dropped off at her apartment by a friend. Another told investigators that Goline commented on “how good he looked” in class and texted him a picture of herself wearing a thong, according to court documents.
She will be charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault because only one of the students was not 18 when they had sex, prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington said.
He believes news of the illicit affairs began to circulate when students started telling others.
“Boys brag,” Ellington said.
Goline would confess to the improper contact in April at Marked Tree High School, according to the affidavit.
Barbara Wilburn, the men’s basketball coach at a high school in northeast Arkansas, had heard a parent intended to cause “bodily harm” to a teacher who allegedly had sex with multiple students, according to the affidavit.
Wilburn went to the principal, who rushed to alert the superintendent. As Wilburn and the principal were filing the report, Goline herself burst into the principal’s office.
She was crying.
When the principal, Matt Wright, asked Goline what was wrong, she shook her head. “No, no,” she said, according to the affidavit.
Wright pressed Goline, asking her whether there was something she needed to tell him.
“I’m not going to lose my husband,” she tearfully responded.
Goline allegedly told the principal and coach that she had sex with four students — three from the Marked Tree School District and another from the nearby East Poinsett County High School. Officials at both school districts did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The principal contacted police, who arrived at the school and read Goline her rights before taking her to jail. Goline’s case, which was originally taken on by the Marked Tree Police Department, is now being investigated by the Arkansas State Police because the reported crime was committed in Jonesboro, rather than Marked Tree, Ellington said.
The former teacher was placed on administrative leave in May, according to WREG-TV.
It was not immediately clear whether Goline has an attorney in the case.
The Craighead County Detention Center booked and released Goline on Wednesday, according to local TV station KAIT. She is awaiting an Oct. 31 appearance in circuit court.
If convicted of the Class A felony, she could be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison.
Ellington said his office decided not to press charges on behalf of the three boys who were 18 or older because the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that there is a fundamental right to privacy that protects all private, consensual, noncommercial acts of sexual intimacy between two adults. A state statute that criminalized a teacher’s consensual relationship with a student under the age of 21 was unconstitutional, the court found.
Ellington said he was not particularly surprised by Goline’s case. He said he could remember seven cases in the past 10 years where women had sexual relationships with students or underage men.
“For some reason, it seems to be kind of an epidemic among mid-20s to late-30s females that are getting in this cycles with these young men,” he said.
A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the sentencing guidelines for a Class A felony in Arkansas. It has been corrected and updated.