WATKINSVILLE, Ga. -- A 24-year-old North Oconee High School teacher’s aide sent nude pictures of himself to a female student which led to his arrest Wednesday, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said.
Jeremy Wetzel, who lives on Clotfelter Road in Bogart, was charged with child molestation under a code that deals with sending electronic images of a sexual nature, according to Berry. Wetzel is in jail without bond.
Investigators have evidence that Wetzel sent images to the student through email and text message over the past 45 days, Berry said. Authorities found no evidence of physical contact between the suspect and victim, Berry said.
The student told a friend about the pictures, and the friend reported the matter to school officials, Berry said.
Wetzel, employed as a paraprofessional since July 2010 at the school, was fired, said Brook Whitmire, assistant superintendent for Human Resources with the Oconee County School System.
North Oconee officials learned Wednesday of the “extremely inappropriate conduct on the part of this employee toward a student. It was investigated immediately and found to have merit,” Whitmire said.
Berry would not say if the student was in Wetzel’s classroom.
“Within an hour of us finding out about this we had him in custody,” Berry said.
Investigators were preparing search warrants Wednesday afternoon. Berry refused to say where investigators would be searching. However, he said they have already seized evidence in the case.
“We have text messages between him and the victim as well, but I won’t go into the nature of it,” he said.
Prior to being hired as a paraprofessional, Wetzel had worked as a substitute teacher since 2009.