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Bad decision will haunt former teacher for 25 years

A former Overland Park teacher who had alleged consensual sexual relations with several of her students will spend the next 25 years as a registered sex offender.

In April 2012, the former Shawnee Mission West High School teacher pleaded guilty to three counts of having unlawful sexual relations with a student. Each charge was a felony. On June 1, 2012, a Johnson County District Court judge sentenced her to 32 months in prison for the sex crimes, but allowed her to serve three years on probation instead of sending her to prison.

Because she agreed to plead guilty, her attorney was able to negotiate a deal with Johnson County prosecutors. Under the terms of the agreement, the 28-year-old former teacher will only have to spend time in prison if she violates the terms of her probation.

Unfortunately for the woman, she will still have to face the social stigma associated with being a registered sex offender. The conviction will also end her teaching career. State law required prosecutors to inform the state board of education about the conviction, which will result in her teaching license being revoked.

According to court records, the woman had sexual relations with the students in 2010 at her home. The three young men were 17 or 18 at the time of the encounters, which is above the legal age for consent in Kansas. However, Kansas has a separate law restricting teacher's actions with their students.

Court records indicate school officials suspended the woman from her job as a psychology and world geography teacher at Shawnee Mission West High School in 2011 after she was accused of having sexual encounters with students. She also coached cheerleading prior to her suspension.

The Assistant District Attorney in charge of the case says the woman received the same treatment a male teacher would receive if he were having sexual relations with a female student. He agreed to probation instead of prison because of the victims' ages, he says. The woman's psychological report indicates she is not a pedophile, court records indicate.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Probation ordered for former Shawnee Mission teacher who had sex with students," Tony Rizzo, June 1, 2012

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