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A former special education teacher from Michigan has been sentenced to serve over four years in prison for having sex with two students and giving drugs to one of the teens.
Kathryn Houghtaling, 27, appeared in court on Tuesday, where she was sentenced to a minimum of four years plus three months up to a maximum of 15 years in prison for victimizing two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, Fox 2 Detroit reports. Houghtaling, a former special education teacher who worked at Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, was charged in January with six counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct as well as delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
The latter charge stemmed from allegations that she gave one of the teens Xanax, according to the outlet.
Houghtaling, who was arrested in January 2019, is alleged to have given one teen alcohol, had sexual contact with him in cars, and even snuck into the teen's home “to be with” him, the boy's mother said during Thursday’s sentencing, according to Fox 2.
“I trust those adults are there to help and educate them, not to harm him. Never did I imagine that one of those adults would violate him by initiating a 'sexual relationship' with him,” she said.
The uncle of the second victim — who is the child’s legal guardian — said that on one occasion, Houghtaling pushed to come to dinner at their house to help the teen prepare a meal, but the uncle later found the boy “high as a kite” because she’d given him drugs, The Oakland Press reports.
The uncle said that Houghtaling, who he met at a meeting for special needs children, pretended to be an advocate for children and led him to believe that she wanted to help his nephew, according to Fox 2. Both guardians of the victims said that the teens were subjected to ridicule at school once Houghtaling’s actions became publicly known. The ridicule reached a point that one of the victims had to transfer to a different school, the outlet reports.
Houghtaling had been working at the school since August 2018, but was fired in January 2019 after she was charged, according to The Detroit News.
She accepted a plea deal in January, two days before her trial was set to start. She pleaded no contest to the charges in exchange for a minimum sentence of 51 months, according to The Oakland Press. She was sentenced on Thursday to between 51 and 180 months for the criminal sexual conduct charges and between 51 and 96 months for the drug charge, the outlet reports.
The judge also ordered Houghtaling to refrain from having any contact with her victims, according to Fox 2. She has received credit for having served two days already.
Houghtaling, who is married, apologized for her actions during Thursday’s sentencing.
“My actions have consequences that will affect me, my husband, my family, and friends,” she said, according to Fox 2. “I want to apologize to all the parties involved, specifically to my students. I know that my actions betrayed the duty and the responsibility I had as a teacher. I sincerely never intended for my relationship with them to cause them drama.”
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