An Ohio teacher convicted of unlawful sexual conduct and sexual battery for having sex with a 14-year-old boy in a classroom was sentenced to a year in prison this week.
“I felt trapped in a teacher’s life,” Jessica Langford, 32, told the court before she was sentenced on Tuesday, according to WHIO TV, the local ABC affiliate in Dayton, Ohio. “There isn’t a day that I wish I could do things differently, I know I am fully responsible.”
In addition to a year in prison, Langford will be on probation for up to five years, and is required to surrender her teacher’s license and register as a sex offender.
Langford, a former teacher at Miamisburg Middle School, was convicted in April after a jury trial of six counts of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. According to evidence presented at her trial, Langford and the boy became friends during a school trip to Washington, D.C., the Dayton Daily News reported.
After the trip, Langford added the boy to her Snapchat social media account, and the boy told her he wanted to have sex with her, according to the newspaper.
Then, on the last day of school 2017, he met Langford in her classroom early in the morning, before classes began. When he entered the room, he said, she switched off the lights and locked the door behind him.
“We started kissing and it escalated from there,” the boy testified, before saying he engaged in oral sex and intercouse with Langford.
“We were having sex for about 20 to 30 minutes, and time was running out” before school started, the boy testified, but before the two finished there was a knock on the classroom door. It was the school principal.
“Mrs. Langford tells me to hide under the desk,” the teen told jurors. Later, he said, she told him to “stick to the story” that he was in her classroom to stack chairs and desks because the school year was over.
“It felt uncomfortable,” he said. “I thought it was wrong.”
The boy, now 15, testified that he didn’t tell anyone about the liaison for a year, and lied when asked about it by school officials, saying he “didn’t want to throw her under the bus.”
Later, however, the boy revealed the liaison to his father, a police officer.
An investigation lead police to five boys, including the one Langford had sex with, according to a police report obtained by the Dayton Daily News. Two of the boys said Langford gave them gifts, including an iPhone, shoes and a gift card, while two others said Langford showed them a photograph of she and her husband having oral sex, the newspaper reported.
The boy did not speak at Langford’s sentencing, but his father did. He asked the court to sentence Langford to the maximum prison term allowed by law, which could have been 15 years.
“She was entrusted with the care of the children and students and threw it away for her own sexual gratification,” the father had said in court. “He feels embarrassed and alone. He’s bullied constantly at school and feels alone and helpless,” the man said, a video of the sentencing proceeding shows.
But Langford told the court that having to register as sex offender, as she now must do, was “the ultimate punishment” that made jail time unnecessary, pointing out that as a sex offender she won’t be able to take her daughter “to school, attend her sporting events or even just take her to have fun at the park.”
Then Langford read a letter she wrote to the boy, which closed with an apology.
“I want you to know how much I regret my actions and choices surrounding May 23, 2017. And want you to know that I’m sorry you and your family had to go through any of this,” she said.
[Photo: Montgomery County Jail]