Texas teacher sentenced after having relations with 15-year-old male student
It's often said that the difference between a good and a bad teacher can change a student's life forever, and someone who exploits their power and authority can end up ruining the life of an innocent minor. Although schools have ditched corporal punishment, a far more depraved and damaging form of abuse is still being practised in many classrooms around the world, in the form of student-teacher sexual relations. Many people don't seem to take this crime seriously enough; but no matter what the age of the student, or the teacher, or what the other circumstances are, this is still a serious felony, and the consequences are always severe.
This week, another American high school has ended up tainted by a sexual misconduct case. On Thursday June 7, 28-year-old teacher Katherine Ruth Harper was found guilty of having sexual relations with a minor, and sentenced to six years in prison. Harper, who hails from Trophy Club, Texas, (an affluent suburb which lies to the northwest of Dallas) is also required to register as a sex offender and serve a further 10 years probation following her incarceration.
Harper is a seventh-grade teacher who formerly worked at John Tidwell Middle School. She was arrested in April 2017 after it emerged that she had repeatedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a student (whose name has not been made public in order to protect his identity) and also sent him several nude photos of herself.
School administrators were apparently first made aware about the illegal dalliances in September 2016. They contacted the police, but the case was closed due to lack of evidence. The Denton County police department later launched an investigation into Harper, after they received an anonymous tip via the school district's official website. When a school offical approached the 15-year-old in question, and confronted him with these claims, the boy allegedly burst into tears, and confessed what had happened between Harper and himself.
The pair are said to have begun a relationship together in the fall of 2016, after trading risqué messages between one another. During summer vacation, Harper reportedly visited the student's home, and plied him with alcohol, before engaging in sexual intercourse with him. In an official statement the boy said that: "'One thing led to another and she told me to 'put it in' and I did."
Police seized Harper's phone, which contained more than enough evidence to incriminate her. Harper was pregnant at the time of her 2017 arrest, but it is unknown whether or not her adolescent victim is the biological father of the child. Trophy Club Police Chief Patrick Arata stated: "'She's about eight months pregnant, so if we go back in time it's around when that event took place, but she is married, we believe, still. So we're not sure what that leads to."
This is the second such felony to emerge in the last few days. Oldham County High School teacher Hayley Reed, a 35-year-old, was arrested last week for also having improper relations with a student.