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School waited to tell police about teacher who had student's baby

UC Santa Barbara

New questions have emerged about the Redlands high school teacher arrested this week after giving birth to a baby allegedly fathered by one of her students.

Police now say she may have had inappropriate sexual relationships with three students from two different schools, authorities say.

Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 28, joined the Redlands Unified School District six years ago as an English teacher at Redlands High School and allegedly began sexual relationships with two boys, one as young as 14, authorities say.

Whitehurst was arrested Monday night on charges of sexual abuse for an alleged relationship with a then-16-year-old Citrus Valley High School student that lasted nearly a year, authorities said. Whitehurst gave birth on June 18 to a son fathered by that student, said Cmdr. Shawn Ryan of the Redlands Police Department. Whitehurst remains free on $25,000 bail.

Redlands police launched their investigation after the student's mother alerted school officials.

The Redlands Daily Facts, quoting a police search warrant, reported Saturday that school officials waited six weeks before reporting the allegations to police. Under state law, they are required to report such allegations immediately, the paper said.

"Evidence from emailed communications and personnel files may show teachers, school administrators, and district administrators failed to report suspected child abuse as mandated," the search warrant said.

San Bernardino County prosecutors say they have been in contact with Redlands police and expect to review possible charges early next week.

Since the teacher's arrest, other former students have come forward.

Police said a 20-year-old man told detectives that he began his relationship with her in the fall of 2007 when he was a 14-year-old freshman, Redlands police said.

He said he and Whitehurst had sex in her classroom before school, in her apartment and in her car, said Redlands police spokesman Carl Baker. He told police the relationship ended in early 2008.

Another alleged victim, now 22, told police he had a sexual relationship with Whitehurst while she was his teacher at Redlands High. He said the relationship took place when he was a junior at the high school in 2007 and 2008, according to Baker.

The man told authorities the relationship began after a discussion about an English paper about dreams and she told him she had a dream about kissing him. Whitehurst left Redlands High in 2009 and worked at another school before going to Citrus Valley High.

The 28-year-old teacher attended school in Redlands before graduating from UC Santa Barbara. She has also served as an assistant coach for the girls' varsity soccer team. Her father was a senior administrator at the school district. 

She has been placed on leave by the Redlands Unified School District.

The investigation into Whitehurst is ongoing and authorities are asking anyone with additional information to contact Det. Natasha Crawford at (909) 798-7623.

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