By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina teacher faces 3 felony counts

Heather Hughes
Heather Hughes

She faced two charges originally. The grand jury added the fourth-degree assault charge.

Hughes, 37, who lives in rural Willamina, was booked into the Yamhill County Jail on $15,000 bail initially. She subsequently secured her release by posting $1,500, or 10 percent.

Under terms of her release agreement, she is limited to supervised contact with her daughter, to be arranged through her husband, Michael.

Hughes appeared Friday afternoon before Circuit Court Judge Steven Price for arraignment. She is scheduled to accept a plea agreement and undergo sentencing at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, June 23, before Judge Ronald Stone.

 Hughes, who taught at Willamina Middle School and coached boys and girls track at Willamina High School, is only a second-year teacher, so is on probationary rather than tenured status. She has been placed on paid administrative leave pending resolution of the case.

School Superintendent Gus Forster said Monday that he would be conferring with the district attorney’s office for a fuller picture of the allegations before making a recommendation to the board on her future employment.

The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, which is responsible for issuing and renewing teaching licenses, would be conducting an investigation of its own as well. That could potentially jeopardize her teaching credential.

The district notified the agency of the arrest, and forwarded a copy of the initial sheriff’s office report, along with other documentation.

Sgt. Chris Ray said Hughes struck her daughter in the face while driving her home. He said a third party reported the incident to the state Department of Human Services, which notified the sheriff’s office.

The grand jury took testimony from Hughes, her daughter and detective Nicole Rickles before deciding what charges to bring. It concluded she knowingly and unlawfully caused her daughter physical injury.

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