Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pottstown (PA) teacher convicted of corruption of minors for sexual relationship with student

A former Pottsgrove High School teacher was convicted yesterday of misdemeanor charges of corruption of a minor in connection with a relationship she had with a 17 year old student of hers. 34 year old Rebecca Ann Harvey, of Stowe, PA, was found guilty after a bench trial presided over by Judge Joseph A. Smyth.

Harvey met the student while she was dating an adult friend of his in July 2008, according to court papers. When the student's friend broke up with Harvey, Harvey allegedly initiated conversation with the student via text message.

In February, Harvey invited the student to her residence where they had sex, with Harvey providing the student transportation to and from her residence, court papers indicate.

According to police, the relationship lasted for five months, until July 14 2009, when police found them in a car with the windows fogged up outside a Pottstown business. Harvey initially told police she thought the boy was 18, and when they figured out that he was a Pottstown High student, she said she didn't know that and that "it's a big school."

The Pottstown School District also investigated Harvey for text messages between her and the victim which took place during March and April 2009. The student, who babysat Harvey's two children, claimed the texting was about his babysitting job, but officials believed the messages, which were deleted before they could review them, were sexual in nature.

After Harvey insisted at her bench trial that the boy was 18 when she met, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Quigg challenged her. "They knew each other about a year. She knew he was a student there. She looked up his academic records which would have showed his age," he said.

Quigg said about the relationship, "She was in a position of authority and trust. She abused that position for her own sexual gratification. The fact you're dealing with a relationship between a student and teacher is what makes this so egregious."

Harvey will be sentenced by Judge Smyth later this year, after a Megan's Law evaluation and pre-sentencing report is completed. She faces 5 to 10 years imprisonment for her crime.

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