Mesquite ISD teacher's aide charged with sexual abuse of 11-year-old boy

- A teacher’s aide in Mesquite was arrested Thursday for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy.

Police said Jessica Benton admitted to having numerous sexual encounters with the boy at least 10 times since May.

The 27-year-old mother of two worked as a kindergarten teacher’s aide at Tisinger Elementary in the Mesquite Independent School District. But, police said the assaults happened at a private home and did not involve a student who attended the school. However, the boy was a student at a different school in the Mesquite school district.

Police said Benton was separated from her husband and living with a family that had several kids in the house. The victim didn't live there, but was friends with the family and over often for sleepovers. Another child in the home noticed what was happening and made the outcry.

"We were first notified by an adult whose child had observed some behavior that they didn't think was quite right," said Mesquite Police Lt. Brian Parrish. "When the child went to the mother, the mother agreed it didn't seem right and brought it to our attention."

Benton allegedly told investigators that she thought she could have a long-term relationship with the victim. There were even rumors that she was pregnant with his child, but police said a pregnancy test came back negative.

Benton was initially charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child but was later changed to continuous sexual assault of a child. 

Benton's bond was set at $100,000. Mesquite ISD also placed her on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Student safety is our highest priority, so this is very upsetting and disappointing news for everyone in our district. Such behavior by an educator is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in MISD. The alleged actions of this individual should not diminish the work of the thousands of outstanding professionals we are fortunate to employ,” the district said in a statement.

Police do not believe there are any other victims.

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