PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Police charged a former Pittston Area High School teacher Tuesday with institutional sexual assault for preying on a teenage girl who had no mother.
Colleen McGarry, 45, of Pittston was interviewed by police in February about allegations involving a sexual relationship with a student.
Then in May, the Pittston Area School District fired her, but it was not until Tuesday morning that she was charged.
Colleen McGarry had nothing to say as she left the magistrate's office in Plains Township. Court papers show the math teacher had plenty to say to investigators after they questioned her about a sexual relationship the math teacher had with her then-17-year-old student.
Court papers show the relationship began after the victim confided having feelings for the teacher.
McGarry told investigators, "I've taken her under my wing," and goes on to say about the victim, "She had no mom in her life at all, and was forced to grow up quick. She's an impressive young woman for what she's been through."
Shauna Cuff homeschools one of her children and in a few years will start teaching her newborn. She says the charges are tough to hear about. But police also say the relationship with that 17-year-old female student at Pittston Area High School was no secret.
"What happens when these people that you don't know are watching your kids?" Cuff asked.
According to court papers, the girl's friends would see them out together and police say the teacher even supplied alcohol once when the girl threw a party with other underage kids.
"I find that so deplorable on the teacher's part. You know that this person is vulnerable, and rather than push them to avenues that are going to be beneficial to them, you don't just go do that," said Cuff.
Colleen McGarry faces charges including institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and furnishing alcohol to minors.
She's locked up in the Luzerne County Prison after failing to post bail.