A former high school teacher who admitted he had inappropriate sexual contact with an 18-year-old student was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.
Steven C. Oglesby, 43, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to sexual assault by a person with supervisory authority over another. Judge John Flythe imposed the prison term and an additional 10 years of probation.
Oglesby’s relationship with a senior at Richmond County Technical Magnet School surfaced in March when rumors spread through the school that he was involved with a student, said Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers. The student was soon identified and she told law enforcement that she and Oglesby communicated by cell phones since the 11th grade and began having physical encounters this year such as kissing and fondling, Myers said.
Oglesby also admitted to the relationship. In 13 years of teaching, Oglesby said it was the first time he had become involved with a student, Myers said.
The student’s parents told the judge they felt betrayed by Oglesby. Parents send their children to school to be mentored and guided, not to be used, her father said.
Defense attorney Shawn Merzlak asked the judge to take into account the years of community service Oglesby contributed. He cooperated from the beginning, knowing what he had done was ethically wrong, Merzlak said. Oglesby’s case is different than many others that involved multiple, younger victims. Oglesby was not a predator and a probation sentence under the First Offender Act would be just, Merzlak.
Oglesby’s brother, Chris Oglesby, spoke on his behalf, telling the judge that his brother was the kind of teacher who never gave up on students who seemed destined for gangs and crime, and he helped lead students away from that lifestyle. Oglesby was voted teacher of the year by his peers at Cross Creek High School, his brother said.
The prosecutor said he opposed a sentence under the First Offender Act, which allows a defendant who successfully completes his sentence to erase his criminal record. The school system, parents and teachers all need to be completely clear that no one is to lay hands on children, Myers said. This was not an First Offender type of case, he said.
Flythe agreed and rejected the request for First Offender. Although he did impose a prison term, he granted the defense’s request to allow Oglesby to report to the jail later this month for incarceration.
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