Friday, September 28, 2001

Teacher gets two years in prison

He admitted to sexual battery

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — A young woman who was sexually abused by her Fairfield High School music teacher on Thursday urged a Butler County judge to send the teacher she trusted to prison.

        “It took me four years to realize what you did was wrong,” said the woman, before former teacher Brian Schweikert was sentenced to two years in prison.

[photo] Brian Schweikert bows his head as he listens to his wife speak on his behalf during his sentencing hearing.
(Gary Landers photo)
        “You've taken a part of me that I've never given to anybody but you ... You took advantage of me.”

        Last month, Mr. Schweikert, 40, of Fairfield, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted gross sexual imposition, all felonies. He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $5,000.

        The woman, now in her early 20s, said her relationship with Mr. Schweikert began in 1995 and continued for two years.

        Her testimony and that of a second woman, who was also abused by Mr. Schweikert while attending Fairfield High School, came after testimony in his behalf from several community members, Mr. Schweikert, and his wife, Joyce, also a Fairfield music teacher.

        Defense attorney William Welsh also read from four of the 40 letters of support received since Mr. Schweikert's May 25 arrest.

        Those testifying on Mr. Schweikert's behalf asked for leniency and spoke of Mr. Schweikert's involvement with his church, his love of and skill in teaching, and his community involvement and good character. Last year, he was named Fairfield's Teacher of the Year.

        “I understand what I did was wrong. I shamed myself, my colleagues, my profession,” Mr. Schweikert said. “I sincerely apologize to the victims ... I apologize to my family. I've let my family down. It's my fault and I'm sorry.”

        The Enquirer is not naming the victims, who were teen-agers when the abuse occurred. The abuse surfaced last May when one of the victims, who now lives in Hamilton, went to a Fairfield High School band concert and saw a female student waiting by Mr. Schweikert's truck, as she had done six years previously when she said she was being abused. The woman talked with the teen-ager and alerted a teacher.

        Butler County Common PleasJudge Keith Spaeth said he accepted that Mr. Schweikert was remorseful, but said the teacher misused his position of trust.

        “The bottom line is you are the teacher, they are the students,” Judge Spaeth said. “It was not a lapse in judgment ... This is not something that happened on an evening on one occasion.”

        Judge Spaeth declared Mr. Schweikert a sexually oriented offender. As such, he must register with law enforcement agencies where he lives for 10 years following his release from prison.

        “Our biggest concern was that Mr. Schweikert never teach kids again,” said Fairfield Schools Superintendent Robert Farrell. “I think this ruling insures that.”

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