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CUMBERLAND — Former Mountain Ridge High School teacher Autumn Leathers was sentenced Thursday in Allegany County Circuit Court to a suspended one-year jail term and ordered to register as a sex offender for a sexual relationship she had with one of her students.
Judge W. Timothy Finan sentenced Leathers, who pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree sex offense in January as part of a plea agreement that included dismissal of all other charges.
Finan also ordered Leathers to five years of unsupervised probation with no contact with the victim, at least until he becomes 18 years old, and she must obey all laws.
Prior to the sentencing, the court heard testimony from the victim’s mother, who detailed the impact that Leathers’ crime has had on the victim and his family.
Leathers read a statement expressing her remorse and apologizing to the victim, his family, friends, the Allegany County Board of Education, and her own family and friends.
“I understand I made the biggest mistake of my life,” said Leathers. She said she worked for five years to become a teacher, which was her lifelong goal.
Among his comments, Finan said, “This is certainly a tragic case on many, many levels.”
Finan said it is appropriate for Leathers to register as a convicted sex offender despite the request of her attorneys not to require the sex offender registration.
Leathers was arrested in August following investigation by the C3I Unit that began after a citizen contacted the Child Protective Services about a possible inappropriate relationship between Leathers and a student who was 15 at the time. The student reportedly had been observed at Leathers’ residence in Frostburg on a number of occasions during the late evening hours.
The victim told investigators that he and Leathers had engaged in a sexual relationship that began in May and continued until the time of her arrest. None of the offenses occurred at the school, according to police.
Evidence obtained through a search warrant was recovered at Leathers’ residence.
Leathers, who was terminated by the Allegany County Board of Education following her arrest, is employed in the restaurant business in the Pittsburgh area, where she now resides.
Leathers was represented by Westminster attorney Kathi Hill and Cumberland attorney G.V. McKinley. The case was prosecuted by State’s Attorney Michael Twigg, who noted that the plea agreement was reached with the consent of the family of the victim.
Thursday’s sentencing hearing was attended by friends and family of the victim as well as Leather’s family and friends.
Tags: sex, sexual, offender, issues, west virginia, teacher, female,
Location: Cumberland, Maryland, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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