• Last modified 2168 days ago (Aug. 16, 2018)


Ex-teacher gets harsher sentence in sex case

Staff writer

A former Peabody-Burns teacher who earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child didn’t quite get the sentence he expected Tuesday.

Christopher R. Young, charged in February with eight felonies alleging unlawful sexual relations and sexual exploitation of two students, in June struck a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to two charges in exchange for dismissal of six charges.

Additionally, lawyers for both sides agreed to recommend Young serve 14 days in jail and then three years’ community corrections. Community corrections is a stricter form of probation. District Judge Michael Powers didn’t hold to the agreement but instead handed down more jail time.

After listening to parents of the victims speak in court, one telling about the trauma her family had been through, and the other asking for prison time because Young is “a dirty dog,” Powers listened to Young’s lawyer, John Rapp of Wichita.

Rapp said the agreement had already been made and Powers should follow it.

“We stand here today very humbled,” Rapp said. “We’re asking the court to follow the agreement because today isn’t about what happened; today is about what we do with Mr. Young.”

Rapp contended Young is not a danger to society because he’s already “lost a lot in this case.”

“He can’t go back and undo it,” Rapp said.

Young also spoke at his sentencing.

“I’m very ashamed,” Young said. “I’d like to apologize to my wife.”

Young said he is grateful for having kept his family bond and to his friends for their support.

“I apologize to you for my unacceptable behavior,” Young said. “This is truly the most embarrassing time of my life.”

Powers said that while community corrections is set up to avoid a high incarceration rate and there are other punishments not being considered, he considers Young’s offense to be aggravated.

“I find your position as a teacher puts you in an aggravated position,” Powers said.

While Powers agreed to sentence Young to 36 months community corrections, he lengthened the time Young will spend in jail.

“It makes perfect sense for you to apologize to your family,” Powers said. “It is distressing to me that there wasn’t a stronger apology to these two young women.”

Instead of the 14 days in jail requested in the plea agreement, Powers ordered Young to serve 60 days. After his initial 14 days, he will serve an additional 23 consecutive weekends, Powers said.

Powers also ordered that if Young does not abide by the orders of his community corrections supervisor, he will serve as long as 6 years in jail — three years for each conviction.

Of the eight charges originally filed against Young, sexual exploitation of a child was the highest felony level among them. Kansas sentencing guidelines allow a judge to sentence as much as twice the longest sentence, no matter how many convictions in the case.

Last modified Aug. 16, 2018