Former PHS assistant principal charged with sex with student

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, December 12, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A 33-year-old Alabaster woman and former Pelham High School assistant principal has been charged with three counts of having sex with a student younger than 19, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.



The Sheriff’s Office announced it had arrested Catherine Michelle Bell at about 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 12 after Bell turned herself in to authorities. Bell has been charged with three counts of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19.

As of about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, she was being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $90,000.

“The Pelham Police Department referred the investigation to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office,” read a Sheriff’s Office press release. “Sheriff’s investigators and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office determined that there was enough probable cause to charge Bell, and obtained the warrants.”

The arrest came a few weeks after the Sheriff’s Office and the Shelby County School System confirmed they were investigating a former PHS assistant principal.

In a statement released shortly after Bell’s arrest, Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Cindy Warner said Bell was placed on administrative leave after the investigation began, and said Bell resigned from her position on Nov. 21.

“The Shelby County School District always takes these types of allegations seriously. The school district took immediate action when we were first made aware of the allegations,” Warner’s statement read. “The employee was placed on administrative leave while the matter was being investigated by the school district, with the assistance of local law enforcement. She subsequently resigned from her position on Nov. 21.”

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with more information about the case to call its office at 669-4181, its secret witness line at 669-9116 or to submit a tip through by clicking on the “Report Criminal Activity” link and choosing the “General Information” category.

According to Alabama law, Bell’s charges are Class B felonies. If convicted of the crimes, Bell could face up to 20 years in prison per charge.