POLK COUNTY, Iowa — A former Dowling Catholic High School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student is pleading not guilty.
Kristen Gantt, 36, faces two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. She had been scheduled to be in court Thursday to be arraigned and enter a plea, but court records show a written plea of not guilty was filed Wednesday.
Gantt also waived her right to a speedy trial.
Gantt is accused of sexually exploiting a 17-year-old male student in February and March. Court documents claim that the two sent numerous messages through the school’s email, a private email account, and Instagram.
It also states that the two began a physical relationship in the classroom after school hours. Gantt was placed on administrative leave after Dowling Catholic officials learned about the alleged relationship. The school contacted West Des Moines Police to investigate after starting an internal review. Dowling Catholic’s President Dr. Dan Ryan said Gantt will not return to Dowling.