Burke County teaching assistant arrested

A 22-year-old teaching assistant at a Burke County school for children with emotional and behavioral issues was arrested Thursday afternoon for her involvement in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student at the school.

Holly Whitfield, a paraprofessional at River Quest School, turned herself in and was charged with sexual assault, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent acts and sodomy. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible, according to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Gene Sullivan, the executive director of the area's Regional Educational Service Agency, which oversees the school, said Whitfield was instantly fired from River Quest when the allegations surfaced on Wednesday. He said she will be referred to the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services, as well as the Professional Standards Commission that issued her license.

"We are absolutely sick about this," Sullivan said. "We are very sorry this happened and we are doing all we can in light of the fact."

River Quest is a Georgia psycho-educational school that serves children in five counties.

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