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Union Academy teacher faces sex charge

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- Union County Sheriff's Department
Diana Leigh Farnell

A Union Academy high school teacher has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a student, Monroe police said Thursday.

Diana Leigh Farnell was arrested Thursday, a day after a warrant was issued for her, according to Union County Jail records. She taught English and creative writing at the academy and was the school’s cheerleader advisor.

Farnell, 28, of Fort Mill, S.C., is charged with one count of sex offense with a student, a felony, authorities say. She is in the county jail on a $10,000 secured bond.

Monroe police say the investigation is ongoing and that additional charges are possible.

Union Academy is a charter school with 1,300 students in grades K through 12 in Monroe. It received its first charter in February 2000.

According to the arrest warrant, the student was a 16-year-old male, and the offense occurred over the past year. Police say they received a phone call Monday alerting them to the possible offense.

The school is working with law enforcement agencies in the investigation, academy Headmaster Ann Walters said Thursday.

Walters would not comment on whether Farnell was the student’s teacher or if Farnell is still on the staff, although a listing for her on the school website has been removed.

Farnell’s arrest report says she is unemployed.

A former listing for Farnell on the school website said she taught English III, English IV and creative writing. She is a graduate of Penn State University and Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., according to the listing.

Farnell could not be reached for comment. She is due to make her first court appearance Friday in Monroe.

This is her fourth year teaching at the school, Walters said.

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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