A female teacher in Gatesville Independent School District has been charged with having an improper relationship with a 15-year-old male student after he spoke out about sexually explicit messages he had received from her. 

Christine Paige Cockrell, who worked as an eighth-grade earth science teacher at Gatesville Junior High School, was arrested Friday after the student told authorities that the two had exchanged nude photos and sexual messages on the social media platform Instagram. 

According to the criminal complaint affidavits, Cockrell allegedly “sent nude photographs of her breasts and asked for nude photographs of himself.”

The student told investigators the nude photographs were sent October 8 – November 11, 2023, but the two began communicating sexually beginning in January 2023—when the victim was in eighth grade. 

One of their conversations involved meeting up for sex; however, the complaint states the two did not have sexual contact. 

The conversations also included Cockrell talking about “many of her past sexual partners and things that she enjoyed sexually.” The complaint also states Cockrell mentioned she wanted to take a younger guy under her wing and “teach him stuff.”

When questioned by school officials, Cockrell “admitted to messaging students on Instagram but could not recall whether a photograph of her breasts had been sent.”

Cockrell also revealed that a former student had messaged her and propositioned her for sex. Detectives contacted the student, who said she had messaged him saying he was “cute.” When the boy told her he was 17, she allegedly replied, “No one has to know.”

On Thursday, authorities issued two warrants for Cockrell for improper relationship between an educator and student, a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison. 

The following day, Gatesville ISD police arrested Cockrell. 

Also on Friday, the district announced it had placed Cockrell on administrative leave pending the investigation. Soon after, she resigned from her teaching position, and Gatesville ISD said she is no longer allowed on district property. 

Cockrell was booked into Coryell County Jail and was released Saturday after she posted a $20,000 bond. 

According to state records, Cockrell’s teaching certificate is still valid and not currently under review. 

Texas Scorecard reached out to Gatesville ISD but did not receive a response by publication. 

Texas Scorecard has reported on dozens of teachers charged with sex crimes involving students.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.