Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ft. Wayne teacher sentenced to 2 years for sexual relationship with pupil

Wayne High School Assistant Principal Kristopher Sennett was sentenced to 2 years in prison in an Allen County courtroom Friday, September 26. with a 50% reduction for good behavior. He was sentenced for 2 counts of child seduction, a crime specifically covering 16 to 18 year olds in positions of vulnerability.

Though the age of consent in Indiana is 16, a school employee can be charged with child seduction if he or she “engages with the child (at least 16 but under 18 years old) in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct or any fondling or touching with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the adult.”

Sennett was sentenced for using the death of his wife Tami's grandmother to pull the girl out of class. He pretended to be going to the funeral, but stayed home, posing as the girl's father to get her into the sexual relationship.

The relationship came to light when the girl's parents found a Valentine's Day card, e-mails and a love letter from the girl to Sennett in which she wrote, according to a Fort Wayne Police report, that “she loved being in bed with him and having his arms around her.”

The girl's parents called police, and Sennett was suspended from his job Feb. 22 and eventually fired. According to the police report, he told Fort Wayne Community Schools officials that “he was in love with (the girl) and admitted to having a relationship with her but did not admit anything sexual.”

His victim — who came to court straight from school dressed in her cheerleading uniform — avoided looking in Sennett's direction during most of the hearing. Her boyfriend escorted her to the courthouse with her family in tow, her grandmother carrying a handkerchief, trying to fight the tears in her eyes.The girl told The News-Sentinel in April she was no longer sure of her feelings for Sennett. “I really have no idea (how I feel),” she said. “It's been forever since I've heard from him.”Neither she nor her family spoke in court, and they declined comment following the sentencing.

At the sentencing, Tami Sennett was pregnant with the couple's 3rd child. "Kris has learned from his mistake and is trying to move on with his life,” she said. “I know I cannot undo my poor choice. I let them down as well as others. I just hope that some day they will find a way to forgive me," the defendant said.

Besides the prison sentence, Sennett forfeited his teaching license.

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