A married, former Michigan high school teacher charged with having sex with two students — and plying one with drugs — has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, according to reports.
Kathryn Marie Houghtaling, a 27-year-old special education teacher who worked at Rochester High School, will spend at least 51 months behind bars after pleading no contest to having sex with two students who were 16 and 17 during the December 2018 encounters, the Oakland Press reports.
The former first-year teacher pleaded no contest in late January, just two days before she was set to go to trial. She had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted on six counts of third-degree criminal conduct and one count of delivery of a controlled substance — for giving one of the teens Xanax, leaving him “higher than a kite,” his uncle told a judge.
“She gave him drugs,” the boy’s uncle, who is his legal guardian, said during a victim impact statement at Houghtaling’s Tuesday sentencing. “To me, this is ridiculous — it’s absurd to do that.”
The teen was ultimately forced to transfer to another school due to avoid being mocked by fellow students about his connection to Houghtaling, his uncle said.
The mother of the second victim, meanwhile, called for “maximum punishment” to be doled out to the former teacher, accusing Houghtaling of sneaking into her house, giving her son alcohol and rides home from school without her knowledge.
The teen is now “withdrawn” and has diminished confidence, she said.
None of the sexual encounters occurred on school grounds, but sources told WDIV that Houghtaling had sex with the victims at an apartment, as well as in a car while other students watched.
One of the teens was a student in her class, prosecutors told the station.
Houghtaling, of Sterling Heights, got emotional in court while apologizing for her actions, according to the station.
“I have learned so much about myself and other people through this tough process,” said Houghtaling, who was fired by Rochester Community Schools prior to her arraignment in early January. “I’ve learned to take full responsibility for my controllable actions and seek help for those that I cannot control.”
Houghtaling also referenced her marriage during her statement, saying that being incarcerated will further negatively impact her relationship.
“I understand that my actions have consequences that will affect me, my husband, my family and friends,” she said, C & G Newspapers reports. “Having that burden on me has been a punishment I could have never imagine and never want to experience again.”
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