ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Johns County teacher who was arrested late Wednesday afternoon after being accused of having sex with a student is married and is expecting her first child, according to her old classmates and friends.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Virginia Houston Hinckley, who lives in Jacksonville, turned herself in Wednesday at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, after learning a warrant for her arrest was issued.
The 26-year old St. Augustine High School teacher 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.
Special Victims’ Unit detectives began the investigation Oct. 20 after allegations that Hinckley had sex with a 16-year-old boy who was in her class.
“It’s just horrifying to find that you have deputies in the school and the things that are going on,” said Lisa Preble, whose daughter attended St. Augustine High School. “It's devastating. You hear it on the news at other schools. You hear it across the country that these things happen, but for it to be in literally walking distance to your backyard, it’s horrific.”
Preble said she’s heard of bomb threats and false alarms at the school, but has never heard of an incident like this.
“We, as a community, need to stand up and say, 'Look, these children are our community. We need to be responsible to make sure that the teachers that go in to teach our children are background checked and constantly reviewed to make sure they are going to be the proper people for our children,'” Preble said.
Police interviewed witnesses and search warrants were obtained and used as evidence in the investigation.
Detectives then turned the investigation over to the State Attorney’s Office, which issued the arrest warrant Wednesday afternoon.
Hinckley was suspended with pay in October pending the outcome of the sheriff’s office and school investigation, according to the St. Johns County school district.
According to the St. Augustine High School website, Hinckley teaches ninth-grade English and ninth- and tenth-grade intensive reading.
At this point, the investigation only surrounds one 16-year-old student.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said investigations like these usually take some time because there is a lot of evidence to gather.
“What they will do is interview the student that’s involved to see exactly what type of sexual contact happened between the two, so they know how to properly charge her,” Smith said.
Preble said justice needs to be served, and she hopes this is a lesson for all.
“I just think that we as a community need to take more action in what’s happening in our schools,” Preble said.
News4Jax went to Hinckley’s home in Jacksonville on Thursday for comment, but no one answered the door.