Kathryn Houghtaling sentenced: Married Michigan school teacher at Rochester High School gets 4 years after having sex with two teen students, multiple times.
A married Michigan high school teacher has been jailed for four years for having sex with two teenage students and plying one of them with drugs.
Kathryn Houghtaling, of Sterling Heights, who was 26 at the time of the offenses, sexually assaulted her male student victims, aged 16 and 17 when she was working as a special education and science teacher at Rochester High School.
She had sex with the students on multiple occasions, at least one time in a car while other students watched, and another time in one of the victim’s homes, FOX2 Detroit reports.
She also plied one of the students with Xanax, with the victim’s guardian telling the court the ‘vulnerable’ teen boy came home ‘high as a kite’ after being with Houghtaling, while he was struggling to cope with the death of his mother.
Houghtaling, 27, was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months (4 years and 3 months) to 180 months in prison after she pleaded no contest to six counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with the boys.
The female educator was also charged with providing a controlled substance to one of the boys.
Rochester teacher struck deal w/ prosecutors before she was to go to trial:
The abuse took place between November 1 and December 31 2018, with each of the incidents reportedly taking place outside of school hours and off school property.
One of the teens was a student in her class.
Notice of the ‘indiscretions’ followed a complaint being made to the school district in January 2019, with Houghtaling fired following an internal investigation and a criminal investigation being launched and subsequent charges filed.
Houghtaling struck a deal with the court this January, pleading no contest to the charges just before her trial was due to start.
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such during sentencing.
It meant that rather than the maximum sentence of 15 years, Houghtaling’s team offered a lesser sentence of 51 months.
Prosecutors tell of teacher expressing no remorse and continuing to blame her victims:
The sentence came despite the pleas of prosecutors to come down heavily on the married woman, saying she had shown ‘no remorse’ for her abuse of power.
‘Still, to this minute this defendant has expressed no remorse: (She believes) this is everyone else’s fault, she blames the victims. She makes statements to the probation agent which I found outrageous, claiming that she was threatened by one of these victims that he would harm her, he would harm her husband, that he would killer dogs or burn down her house,’ the prosecutor said
The guardian of one of the boys told the court Tuesday how Houghtaling had preyed on the vulnerable student at a time when he was dealing with his mother’s death just months before.
He added that the former teacher had not only groomed the student but had gained the trust of the family, who thought she wanted to help the teen, according to a victim impact statement read out by the distraught uncle.
‘When you do and cross lines that can never be corrected, there’s something wrong there,’ the guardian uncle said. ‘Ms. Houghtaling gained my trust at a meeting for special needs children and she was the advocate that wanted and stepped up and said ‘I want to help your nephew’. Therefore, when I hear requests from her I have a different feeling because I’m thinking she’s his advocate, she’s there helping.’
The mother of the second victim also called for her son’s abuser to face ‘the maximum punishment.’
She told how Houghtaling had sneaked into her house in the middle of the night to be with her son, and had given him alcohol and unauthorized rides home.
Houghtaling apologized for her crimes and admitted her ‘actions betrayed the duties and responsibilities I had as a teacher.’
The judge agreed with the plea guidelines, sentencing Houghtaling to 51 months to 180 months for the criminal sexual conduct charges and 51 months to 96 months for the drug charge.
Unclear is why the female educator insisted on abusing her position of trust, authority and power and subjugating her male victims.