BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A former Burlington Christian Academy coach who is accused of being involved in an inappropriate relationship with a student denied the allegations during a court appearance on Tuesday.

Marissa Faye Carter, 23, of Burlington, was a volunteer cheer coach at the school for four years. Her lawyer Julian Doby says Carter and the alleged victim knew each other and were close family friends.

The alleged victim was not on the cheer team and is almost 18 years old.

“My client and her family are very close with this family and the alleged victim…up until these charges, they’ve all been in constant contact and all have denied that any inappropriate relationship took place,” Doby said. “I wanted everyone to see her face today and know that this is not some monster or predator here. She’s a real human being, and she denies totally these allegations.”

Doby went on to say the alleged victim did not call the police or notify the school. The school reportedly received an anonymous complaint from a parent that was not related to the alleged victim.

The director of Burlington Christian Academy, Dr. Mary Martin, tells FOX8 the school was told about the allegations in mid-April in an anonymous email from a concerned parent. The director then reached out to the student’s parents about what she called “serious allegations” in the email.

After speaking with the student’s parents, the director told Burlington police about the email and says they began investigating to see if there was probable cause to bring charges against Carter.

The Burlington Police Department says officers worked to confirm the allegations and the relationship between Carter and one student.

On Friday, Martin received word from the BPD about the charges. She then decided to let families know.

Martin didn’t want to notify parents earlier because there was no guarantee charges would be filed.

Doby tells FOX8 that he and Carter’s family take issue with the fact that an email was sent out to parents notifying them of charges before police took out an arrest warrant on Monday.

Martin responded to our question about the decision by saying she was under the impression charges were already filed from the conversation, which is why she included that information in her email to parents.

FOX8 asked for her thoughts on Doby’s claims Carter hasn’t done anything wrong, and she tells us she will let the legal system handle the situation.

“We are all responsible as caretakers of children to do the absolute best to protect our children and to follow the training we are given,” Martin said. “Even when it is difficult and our children as teenagers are still children, we are responsible for them.”

Martin wants to assure parents they have a thorough vetting process for all staff members at BCA, including volunteers.

No other students were found to have been involved.

A news release from the BPD says Carter was arrested and charged with:

  • one count of felony sex act with a student
  • one count of felony indecent liberties with a student

She was initially held in the Alamance County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond and has since been released.

She is due back in court on July 12.