Former Martinsburg-area teacher charged with sexual assault

Photo of Phillip Andrew Cruz provided by the Herald-Mail Media
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A former Martinsburg-area high school teacher has been accused of having inappropriate relations with a female student.

The Journal of Martinsburg reports that 26-year-old Phillip Andrew Cruz was arraigned Tuesday on a felony charge of sexual assault by a person in a position of trust.

Police say in court documents that someone saw Cruz massaging and rubbing a Hedgesville High School student's leg in April. Investigators say the student first said Cruz was simply giving her rides to extracurricular activities, but later told police she and Cruz had engaged in several sexual acts in March inside a vehicle and at Cruz's home.

The victim allegedly said she would lie to her parents about her whereabouts to ensure she had time to spend with Cruz. One of the victim’s parents said she had given money to cover expenses when she went to lunch with Cruz, according to court documents.

It is unclear how old the student was at the time.

Cruz resigned from Hedgesville High School in April, just after police began investigation.

Investigators attempted to make contact with Cruz via telephone, at his residence and at his new place of employment several times, according to the Journal of Martinsburg, but were unable to locate him.

Online jail records do not list whether he has an attorney.

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Information from: The Journal of Martinsburg