A former Miamisburg teacher convicted of having sex with a eighth-grader said she was “ashamed of my actions” minutes before a judge sentenced her to a year in prison.
Jessica Langford on Tuesday afternoon told Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy O’Connell she was “completely responsible for my actions” while asking the court to spare her prison time.
O’Connell said Langford will spend a year in the Ohio Reformatory for Women after a jury last month found her guilty of having sex in her Miamisburg Middle School classroom with a 14-year-old on May 23, 2017.
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Specifically, O’Connell sentenced the 32-year-old Centerville woman to three concurrent one-year sentences for each sexual battery count for which she was found guilty. Langford was given one day credit for jail time, will have to register as a Tier III sex offender and was given five years of probation.
“I wish I could go back and undo all that happened,” Langford said fighting back tears moments before sentencing. “I am completely responsible for my actions and should have never abused my power as a teacher and never developed a friendship with a student.
“I take responsibility for my actions that were unbecoming a teacher and want to apologize for using social media inappropriately. I should have never exchanged any form of communication.”
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Assistant Prosecutor Michele Henne, who pushed for a “maximum period of incarceration,” said she was happy with the sentence.
“It was the first time we heard her accept any remote type of accountability for it. She still did not — in our perspective — take full accountability of what she did. She did say she was sorry for a number of things. But it seemed like she was more sorry for herself.”
The jury on April 13 found Langford guilty of three counts of sexual battery and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. But O’Connell said Tuesday the counts were “aligned” and sentenced Langford on the sexual battery charges.
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Prosecutors pushed for a maximum prison sentence, stating in court documents “the egregious nature of this case screams for a particularly harsh sentence.”
Langford’s attorney sought a minimum sentence, citing his client was a first-time offender who deserves “community control sanctions with electronic monitoring.”
The judge pointed out that Langford has no criminal history as he sentenced her for each of the three convictions for sexual battery. The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning Langford will be in prison for just one year.
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In court filings late last week, Henne said Langford’s actions were “the absolute violation” of a public trust and the defendant took action that showed she was “… covering up her sexual abuse of a child.”
While children are attending school, “parents have the right to trust and believe that during this time, their children will not only learn from their teachers, but also be protected by them.
“What the defendant did in this case is the absolute violation of that trust,” according to court documents. “A teacher committed sex crimes against a student. The defendant breached the public’s trust and did the unthinkable.
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“… The defendant breached the trust children should have of adults. Children should not expect adults to harm them. Children should not have to decide what is right and wrong in the safe care of an adult,” according to court documents.
The teen accuser told the jury he and Langford had oral sex and intercourse for “20 to 30” minutes in the locked class on the last day of school.
“From the testimony of (the victim) at trial, he attempted to tell the defendant that what she was doing to him was wrong. The defendant, however, did not stop.”
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“Once the acts concluded, the defendant then told (the victim) to hide under her desk so that she would not be caught when Kelly Thomas came knocking. Not only did the defendant just have sex with a 14-year-old boy on her desk, in her classroom, but she was now telling the child to hide under the desk so that she would not be caught.
In court filings last week, Henne contended Langford failed to show remorse for her actions.
“The state is unaware of any evidence or documentation showing the defendant has remorse for her actions. In fact, the defendant’s sentencing memorandum itself only begs this court for mercy due to the implications and consequences for her husband and young child,” the document states.
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“The defendant does not acknowledge even the likelihood of harm to the minor victim. As a result, this court should find the defendant (has) not shown remorse for any of her actions,” according to Henne’s filing. “The defendant has never once accepted responsibility for her actions and continues to blame others for her conduct.”
But defense attorney Lawrence Greger - in a court filing earlier this month - said even a minimum sentence would cost Langford for decades.
”.…In addition to facing time in prison, Jessica will be categorized as a Tier III sexual offender. The effects of this label will be felt both professionally and personally, as the Tier III label will permanently affect Jessica’s ability to find a job, connect with new acquaintances, and even how she raises her family,” Greger said in his sentencing memorandum.
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“The defendant cannot attend parent-teacher conferences. If the minor daughter becomes ill, the defendant cannot go to the school to retrieve her daughter,” the document stated. “There is a question whether she can even take her daughter to a pediatrician, where other children will be present in the waiting room.”
Greger said prosecutors never offered a plea agreement.
“There were no offers made….plead guilty as charged to six felony offenses,” according to court records. “Resolution of this matter was discussed at the final pretrial conference and all efforts to resolve the matter were dashed by the state.
“Jessica can no longer teach, her must by statute be revoked; and the Tier III restrictions will not allow her to be in an unsupervised environment where children will be present,” the document states. “Indeed the law requires that there be a 1,000 foot barrier between herself and any school, preschool or day care facility. Jessica has been on bond since her arraignment in November, without violation. She can conduct herself in a law-abiding manner.”
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