PLAINS TWP. — A former Pittston Area math teacher and one-time head girls basketball coach is heading to higher court on criminal charges for an alleged romance with a 17-year-old.
Colleen McGarry, 45, of Pine Street, Pittston, appeared before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. for a preliminary hearing today.
Court documents indicate McGarry’s charges of having sexual contact with a student, corruption of minors and a single charge of sell or furnishing alcohol to minors were waived to court.
Four other furnishing alcohol charges and unlawful contact with a minor were withdrawn.
McGarry, who taught 11th and 12th grade math, was fired in May after previously having been suspended pending investigations by the school district and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.
According the affidavit, Luzerne County Children & Youth Services contacted the district attorney’s office Feb. 24 regarding a tip that McGarry was having a “romantic relationship” with a 17-year-old female student. The agency, the affidavit says, received information students had seen McGarry at restaurants with the victim and had read text messages between the two.
McGarry allegedly said she didn’t believe sharing a meal with the student was wrong.
“I didn’t think it was much of a big deal to be taking out a kid,” McGarry told investigators the next day, noting members of school clubs are taken out to eat “all the time” and opining the lines between student and teacher are muddied by the prevalence of technology.
It is a “strange time” in society, the former teacher said, according to the affidavit.
McGarry is scheduled for a formal arraignment at 9 a.m. on Jan. 5 in the Luzerne County Courthouse. She is free on bail.