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Published: Thursday, 2/12/2009

Prostitution sting leads to teacher's arrest

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS - A fourth-grade teacher had a side job as a prostitute, which included using a school computer to arrange what she thought was an afternoon tryst at a motel, authorities said yesterday.

Amber Carter, 35, left school early Tuesday - taking a half sick-day - and was arrested a few minutes later in the parking lot of the Super 8 motel in Bellefontaine, where authorities had set up a sting operation.

An anonymous e-mail was sent to the Logan County Sheriff's Department on Feb. 4 saying a local woman was posting cash-for-sex ads on the Web site Craigslist, Lt. Rob Bibart said.

Detectives found the ad and arranged Tuesday's meeting with Ms. Carter, he said.

"It was done very subtly. We pulled up, I identified myself," he said. "I put her in an unmarked car and off we went."

Detectives remained unclear how long Ms. Carter had been advertising for sex, Lieutenant Bibart said. Bellefontaine is about 50 miles northwest of Columbus.

Ms. Carter was placed on administrative leave, said Bellefontaine City Schools Superintendent Larry Anderson. She has worked for the district for 13 years.

"It's really a shock," Mr. Anderson said. "She's never been involved with any disciplinary issues or anything else. She's done a very good job."

A substitute teacher filled in for Ms. Carter at Western Intermediate School yesterday, and the principal and guidance counselor met with the students to answer questions about the allegations, Mr. Anderson said.

"It's just a bad situation," he said. "It's not our place to tell them too much, but we figured the students might have heard rumors and would have some questions."

The school sent a letter home to parents about the case.

Ms. Carter was charged with misdemeanor prostitution and a felony count of unauthorized use of property, related to the school computer. She was released from the Logan County jail Tuesday.

A woman who answered a phone listing for Amber Carter in Bellefontaine hung up on a reporter seeking comment yesterday.

The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this report.



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