Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Educator gets 18 months for sex with teen


It's one of four cases involving Amelia schools

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - A former Amelia High School administrative assistant convicted of having sex with a student was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison.

Standing before Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ringland, Robert Cann Jr., 34, apologized for his relationship with a 17-year-old female student in 1996, saying he'd "made a horrible mistake - one I've been regretting and paying for the whole time."

Assistant Clermont County Prosecutor Woody Breyer told the judge prison time was the only thing that would convey the seriousness of the offense.

"This is the third one of these," he told Ringland, referring to the string of Amelia High teachers and staff indicted on similar charges. "I don't know what we have to do to get people to take these things seriously. ... Prison would be an appropriate step."

Ringland agreed.

"This has got to stop, obviously," the judge said. "With a position in management, you had a duty to protect children and lead by example."

A letter of support - introduced by Cann's defense attorney, Jay Clark, from Amelia Middle School Principal David L. Mack - upset both Ringland and Breyer.

Cann worked at the middle school before taking a job as an assistant to the vice principal at the high school. Mack's letter was written in August, before Cann was convicted.

"I am surprised that a principal would be writing a letter urging mercy in this kind of case," Breyer said. "Everybody thinks he's a good guy despite his having sex with a student while he is married with two small children."

But Breyer said he doubts the school district supports Mack's opinion. Mack could not be reached.

Breyer praised West Clermont Schools Superintendent Mike Ward for cooperating with investigators.

Cann is the third Amerlia school official to be convicted for having sex with a student.

Jeffrey C. Sears, 41, a former Amelia High School coach and English teacher, is serving three years in prison for having sex with two students.

Gregory Payne, 29, of Bloomington, Ind., a former Amelia High School math teacher, was sentenced to probation after he admitted having sex with a student.

A fourth, J. Eric Fouss, 27, has been indicted on four counts of sexual battery, accused of having sex with a student. He is expected to appear before Ringland on Wednesday, court officials said.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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