A relief house parent at Happy Hill Farm Academy, a private school for underprivileged children, arrested two weeks ago for having an "improper relationship" with a 16-year-old female student let an “attraction” go too far, the school's president said.
Eric Michael Grimes, 27, was arrested April 30. The charge was an “improper relationship between an educator and student.” His bond was set at $100,000. He posted bond and was released on May 1.
Grimes "had an ongoing relationship" with a female minor, the Somervell County Sheriff's Department said.
Photos of a "very inappropriate nature" were exchanged between the teacher and the girl on a cell phone and computer. Authorities recovered the electronic devices that the photos were stored on.
The relationship was brought to light when another student contacted the school, which then contacted the sheriff's department, said Todd Shipman, Happy Hill Farm's president and chief financial officer.
“He let an attraction turn into something it shouldn't have,” Shipman said. “He used really poor judgment.”
The school fired Grimes. Shipman said that Grimes lived and worked in one of the boy students' residences.
The female student had possession of a cell phone because the school had changed its policies giving students cell phone privileges as a reward for good behavior and meeting certain goals and accomplishments.
Shipman said this is the second incident in 15 years that he can recall in which an employee has been arrested. The school routinely conducts background reviews and checks references on prospective employees, he added.
The school notified the girl's parents of the incident and the counseling staff is working with her, Shipman said.
Happy Hill Farm, located on State Highway 144 north of Glen Rose, has about 90 students. It is an interdenominational school that teaches Christian values on a 500-acre farm and campus.