Former Highlands teacher sentenced for having sex with student

Andrea Conners (Source: Campbell County Detention Center)
Andrea Conners (Source: Campbell County Detention Center)
Andrea Conners at her last court hearing where she pleaded guilty
Andrea Conners at her last court hearing where she pleaded guilty
Andrea Conners at her sentencing
Andrea Conners at her sentencing

A former teacher who was convicted of having sex with a student was sentenced on Wednesday.

Andrea Conners was sentenced to five years, but will only have to serve 90 days in the county jail. She will be on probation for the remainder of the five years, and will be under supervised release for another five years.

"Hopefully it's a sentence that will be sent to all educators," said Judge Fred Stine. "Educators everywhere need to know that there's a possibility of going to jail for this behavior."

Conners cried during her sentencing hearing on Wednesday as she apologized for what she did and who she hurt. Her attorney, Rob Dziech, asked that she not be sent to jail, saying she has been permanently damaged and has hurt her family. Dziech says anxiety and social dysfunction led Conners to commit the crime.

Conners, a mother of two, pled guilty in June guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student at Highlands High School in Ft. Thomas between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, 2011

Even though Kentucky's age of consent is 16, the felony she was indicted under makes it illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student under age 18.

Prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass says it wasn't a one time offense, as the pair had multiple sexual encounters, including at school, in her classroom, at a state park and at her parents house.

"Where were her (Conners') kids when she was out having sex with someone else's kids?" asked Snodgrass.

Snodgrass said the victim's family has suffered as well, and the student has been hospitalized four times for anxiety since Conners was arrested.

Conners changed her not guilty plea to guilty on one count of first-degree sexual abuse, which requires her to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life. She will also have to complete a sexual treatment program required by the state. She is also not allowed to be in possession of pornography or have future employment that would attract potential victims.

Her attorney said that she was suicidal after she was first charged, but therapy has led her past that.

Conners was facing a maximum five year prison sentence. Prosecutors were asking for 18 months.

"I have a question in the back of my mind, 'What in the world was she thinking?'" said Stine. "Adults in our society are supposed to be responsible. It is a rock bottom crime."

Conners resigned on May 3 after officials with Fort Thomas Independent Schools became aware of rumors of an inappropriate relationship with a student. She is voluntarily surrendering her teaching license and has been working for her father.

She reported immediately to the Campbell County Detention Center.

Conners taught business management classes during her 8 years with the school district.

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