A former Fort Thomas teacher charged with having sex with a student will spend 90 days in jail. Prosecutors said today that Andrea Conners had sex with the boy multiple times, inside and outside of her classroom at Highlands High School.
Conners entered a guilty plea in June to one count of sexual abuse in the first degree. The former high school business teacher could have been sentenced to has much as five years in prison.
Surrounded by family, a visibly shaken Conners came to court this morning for her sentencing. Her attorney Rob Dziech cited letters of support, including one from former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher in his plea for no jail time. He also said analysts have said Conners suffers from low-self esteem, social isolation and diminished focus. Dziech says, "It sort of indicated the kind of psycho-social dysfunctionality that was a part of what lead to the decision, obviously the very disastrous decision Ms. Conners made."
Conners made a brief but emotionally charged statement. "I would like to say how sincerely sorry I am to the victim and his family. I never meant to hurt anyone. I am fully to blame for this."
Prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass described Conners as a predator, who had sex with the student at a state park, her parents' home and in the classroom at Highlands high school. She argued for jail time. "What in the world was she thinking?"
Judge Fred Stine told Conners what she did was not only a mistake but a serious crime. He said the sentence should send a clear message to teachers. Both the prosecutor and defense said they respected the judge's ruling. Says Snodgrass, "I think it's important for any parent...not just here in Campbell County but everywhere..that when you drop off your child off at school that they are going to be protected by those people that are supposed to protect them."
Conners began serving her 90 day sentence in the Campbell County jail this afternoon. After that, she'll be on probation for five years and will have to register as a sex offender. for the next 20 years and attend a sex offender treatment program. She'll also have to do community service, where she's been ordered to tell other educators about the seriousness of sex crimes with students. She also can't live within 1000 feet of a school and cannot have any contact with teens. She must also submit DNA to the state's crime database.
Conners resigned from her job on May 3rd after she was confronted with allegations of improper contact with a male student. The school worked with police and prosecutors to get a sex abuse indictment.
She had been out on $5000 bond since her indictment and under a judge's orders to stay away from the victim and his family.
Today, she apologized for her actions and said she never meant to hurt anyone. A letter was also read on her behalf, written by Tom Streicher, the former police chief of Cincinnati.
Conners is the third northern Kentucky teacher indicted for sex with students since the state passed a tougher law in 2008. Dayton teacher Nicole Howell was acquitted two years ago. Dixie Heights teacher Sarah Jones is set to go trial next month.
Former students and colleagues say Conners was a very good teacher. She had a spotless personnel record with Fort Thomas schools. Conners started teaching in 2004.