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Ex-teacher faces new sex abuse charges

An inappropriate relationship with an eighth-grade pupil already cost Cara L. Dickey her teaching job, her reputation as a caring teacher and her clean criminal record.

And she sought psychological treatment to deal with her problems following the original accusations in mid-June, her attorney has said.

But now authorities accuse Dickey of getting back in touch with her 14-year-old pupil and having sex with him.

Dickey, the 30-year-old married mother of three young children, now is charged with second-degree rape and criminal contempt, for violating an order of protection in the original case.

The former South Buffalo Charter School teacher is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, pending a felony hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday in West Seneca Town Court.

The Clarence woman turned herself in at West Seneca Town Court with her attorney, Daniel J. Chiacchia, at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. She later pleaded not guilty to the charges in West Seneca Town Court.

Chiacchia declined to comment on the new charges, and Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark would say only that Dickey is accused of having "sexual relations with a 14-year-old male during the summer of 2008."

Authorities say the 14-year-old boy's father only recently learned of the subsequent contact between his son and Dickey. The father told police that the contact apparently started in early July.

"He just found out about it and reported it to us Monday," West Seneca Police Chief Edward F. Gehen Jr. said.

West Seneca police, working with the district attorney's office, moved quickly to investigate and make the arrest.

"From what we believe, she made several contacts with the boy, but she currently is charged with one count of second-degree rape and criminal contempt," Gehen said. "More charges may be pending."

Authorities declined to comment on where in West Seneca the alleged liaison, or liaisons, occurred. And they remained tight-lipped about whether the rape charge is based on a criminal complaint or physical evidence.

It's also not clear what the new charges will mean to Dickey's hopes of avoiding jail time.

Late in July, when Dickey already faced two felony charges and two misdemeanors from the original case, Clark said that it was unlikely his office would agree to any plea deal below the felony level.

Now Dickey faces two more felonies, including a second-degree rape charge. That charge applies when a person 18 or older engages in sexual relations with a person younger than 15, who, by law, is incapable of giving consent.

Police say Dickey previously had sent the 14-year-old boy inappropriate text messages before picking him up from a South Buffalo address on the afternoon of June 16.

That day, she drove him to numerous locations, unlawfully imprisoning him for almost 24 hours and supplying him with Bacardi rum, Tylenol and Nyquil, according to arrest papers.

The pair also had made a suicide pact, police said.

Their disappearance sparked a massive search, and State Police and Buffalo police found both of them late the next morning. The boy was found in a Hamburg mall, while Dickey was found sleeping in her vehicle in Springville.

The five-year veteran teacher, described as popular with students and staff alike, was fired the next day.

Dickey surrendered to authorities July 10 and was charged with promoting a suicide attempt and unlawful imprisonment, both felonies, along with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child, both misdemeanors.

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