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A high school science teacher in Pierce County has been charged with four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student

Andrew McKay, 30, a teacher at Washington High School in Parkland, is alleged to have been having sex with the student since April, according to a news release from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The student told a Pierce County sheriff’s detective that said she would arrive at school an hour early and study in McKay’s classroom, the prosecutor’s office said.

In March 2014, the two allegedly began communicating through text messages. A month later, they had sex for the first time after a walk on the beach, the prosecutor’s office said. Over the next nine months, they allegedly had sex at McKay’s apartment and at his girlfriend’s house while she was at work.

“On one occasion, McKay’s girlfriend returned home while the student was there,” the news release said. “McKay told her that he was providing the student with emotional support because her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. McKay’s girlfriend told him not to bring students to her house.”

The girl told an assistant principal at the school, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. McKay was placed on administrative leave while both criminal and professional conduct investigations were launched, Franklin Pierce School District spokesman Willie Painter told the newspaper.