‘The Victim Would Spend Nights At Her House’: Teacher Sentenced To Prison Over ‘Inappropriate’ Relationship With Student

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A former teacher at an Ohio private school was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges that she inappropriately touched a female student athlete over the course of several years, the Newark Advocate reported Monday.

Jessica Hamilton, 37, was a teacher and a volleyball and basketball coach at Coshocton Christian School, a non-denominational Evangelical Christian school in Coshocton, Ohio, Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Paula Sawyers said, according to the Newark Advocate. Hamilton entered a no contest plea to two counts of gross sexual imposition for inappropriate touching, which are felonies.

Investigators alleged that the victim was 13 years old when the inappropriate relationship with Hamilton began, the Newark Advocate reported. The inappropriate relationship allegedly lasted until the victim graduated from high school. The victim was a student athlete at the school.

Sawyers said the “touching” occurred in three different counties, including the county where the victim lived, where the school was and where the defendant lived “because the victim would spend nights at her house.”

Initially, Hamilton was indicted on sexual battery charges, but plea negotiations led to the charges Hamilton was ultimately sentenced on, according to the Newark Advocate.

Prosecutors said Hamilton had become employed at the school shortly before the inappropriate relationship began, and Hamilton followed the victim to college upon the student’s graduation. The victim, who is in her mid-20s, came forward about the inappropriate relationship in March 2020 after seeing a counselor, the Newark Advocate reported.

Defense attorney Kristin Burkett disputed the length of the relationship, and said the victim and Hamilton had a “very close relationship” for the remaining time that the victim was in high school, and Hamilton knew what she was doing was wrong and “stopped it.”

“Most of the text messages are on an emotional level,” Burkett said,” according to the Newark Advocate. “There certainly are expressions of love and caring and closeness, but the physical relationship did not go on that long.”

Burkett also claimed Hamilton did not follow the victim to college, but went to the college for a teaching position. At that point, the relationship was not physical, Burkett added.

A woman who said she was the victim’s mother told the court that her daughter has “finally been able to deal with the pain.”

“Today you will be sentenced for committing crimes against my daughter and repay your debt to society,” the woman said, according to the Newark Advocate. “My heart aches at times and feels it’s impossible to forgive, but through (God’s) strength one day I know he’ll heal my heart and I will be able to forgive because of what he has done for me on the cross.”

Hamilton apologized to the victim, the victim’s family and her own family for “all the hurt I’ve caused.” The judge determined the facts of the case warranted prison time since the victim was a child at the beginning of the relationship. Hamilton will also be required to register as a sex offender upon her release from prison, the Newark Advocate reported.

Numerous other teachers were arrested in April on charges that they had inappropriate or sexual relationships with minors.

An education director at a Florida foster home was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old male student at least 15 times, numerous sources reported in mid-April. (RELATED: 30-Year-Old Teacher Arrested For Having Sex With 16-Year-Old Student At Least 15 Times)

A math teacher at a New York high school was also arrested on charges that she raped a 15-year-old male student. Days before the New York teacher’s arrest, a former Texas public school teacher was arrested after being accused of having had a sexual relationship with a former student. The former student alledged that he and the teacher had sex not long after the boy turned 13.