High school coach arrested for having physical relationship with student

Published: Dec. 18, 2013 at 11:57 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM EST
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(Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety )
(Source: Aiken Department of Public Safety )

AIKEN, SC (WIS) - Investigators with the Aiken Department of Public Safety arrested an Aiken teacher Wednesday after having a physical relationship with a high school student, authorities said.

Michael Paul Waters, 41, was charged with five counts of sexual battery with a student, said Lt. Jake Mahoney with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

"The investigation revealed that Waters was involved in an ongoing, unlawful physical relationship with a student at South Aiken High School, while he was employed as a teacher and coach at South Aiken High School," Mahoney said in a news release.

According to the South Aiken High School website, Waters teaches economics and geography.

"I enjoy teaching young people in hopes of one day making a difference in their lives," Waters said in his South Aiken High School teacher's page.  "I LOVE coaching and I am a sports fanatic."

Waters is listed as a defensive back coach for football and is also the head boy's soccer coach.

On Thursday, Aiken County Public Schools released the following statement:

On Friday, December 13, 2013, the administration of South Aiken High School began an immediate investigation into a possible inappropriate situation between this teacher and a student, based upon some information supplied that day by a non-involved party.   Upon undertaking this preliminary investigation, the Principal (a) reported the matter to law enforcement upon belief that there could be a violation of law [which school districts are required to do and  whereupon law enforcement commenced their own investigation], and (b) placed the employee upon paid administrative leave that same day, while further investigation was being undertaken by both the administration of the school district and by law enforcement.  You are aware of the law enforcement action, and the School District's investigation is still in process. 

Administrative leave for certified employees in situations like this is a standard practice of this school district and most others in this state.  S.C. law provides a  minimum time frame of fifteen days' pay and notice of hearing for any certified employee who is removed from his workplace by suspension, but any employee can be administratively placed on leave with pay without the necessity of a fifteen day hearing notice while an employer completes an investigation that is underway.

Waters was released on bond.