Former substitute teacher accused of sending sexually explicit material to teens

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — A former substitute teacher has been arrested and charged with sending sexually explicit material to several middle school students, Cleveland County deputies said.

Deputies said a parent told a school resource officer at Crest Middle School in Shelby that a substitute teacher, Emily Durden, had possibly been sending their child inappropriate images and videos.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office started investigating and found that Durden, 19, had started conversations and shared sexually explicit material with several 13-year-old and 14-year-old children.

As part of the investigation, deputies interviewed Durden and she admitted to sending sexually explicit videos and pictures to the children. She was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student, three counts of displaying material harmful to a minor, and two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Durden started working as a part-time sub at Crest Middle on Nov. 8 and investigators told Channel 9 she had only been employed for four days before she reportedly started sending lewd messages to students.

She was arrested on Thursday and released Friday after posting her $50,000 bond. As part of her bond, Durden has promised not to go near a school and cannot have any contact with the victims.

Channel 9 has reached out to Cleveland County Schools asking if the district has an age limit for its substitute teachers. Durden is no longer employed by the district.

Investigators are still trying to determine just how many students Durden communicated with. They said the images were shared by cellphone. One student told his parents, fearing they would find the photos and messages, and that’s when the parents went to investigators.

Deputies discovered that there was at least one more student who said he received similar messages and images from Durden.

The investigation is still ongoing. If your child was victimized, please call the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 484-4888.

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