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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A martial arts instructor from southwestern Illinois has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for sexually abusing three young students.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports 20-year-old Christopher Horton of Highland, Illinois was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge David Herndon.

Horton pleaded guilty in October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

Federal prosecutors say Horton recorded video of himself committing sex acts on students ages 6, 8 and 10. Horton taught martial arts to the victims at a Belleville studio.

Police questioned Horton after someone discovered one of the videos and contacted law enforcement. Prosecutors say they recovered 57 video files from Horton's cell phone.

He also was ordered to pay $3,250 restitution.

Published in Local News
Saturday, 23 November 2013 08:00

Parents: NY teacher note said kids were 'dirty'

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York teacher could be in hot water after sending a note home with her pre-kindergarten students saying some of them were showing up to school so dirty she didn't want to touch them.

Parents say the handwritten note was sent home by a teacher at the Buffalo School District's BUILD Academy. The Nov. 14 letter says several of the 3- and 4-year-old children "also give off unpleasant smells."

The letter also requests the signatures of parent and child to confirm it was received.

The Buffalo News reports the school board concluded the teacher should face disciplinary action.

Kimberly Wells says she was shocked by the letter her granddaughter brought home. She says it made the girl ask if her teacher thinks she stinks.

Published in National News

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - A 14-year-old Massachusetts high school student charged with killing a teacher has been ordered held without bail.

Philip Chism was ordered held Wednesday at his arraignment in adult court on a murder charge in Salem.

His defense attorney, Denise Regan, argued for the proceedings to be closed and her client to be allowed to stay hidden because of his age. The judge denied the request. Regan declined to comment outside court.

Officials haven't released a cause of death, but prosecutors say the teen beat well-liked Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer. Her body was found in the woods behind the school early Wednesday.

The boy also was reported missing Tuesday. He was spotted walking along a road early Wednesday.

He is due back in court Nov. 22.

Published in National News
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:28

Jefferson City district, administrators sued

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal lawsuit accuses the Jefferson City school district and two administrators of not doing enough to prevent a band teacher from having an affair with a student.

The band teacher, Christopher Knehans, pleaded guilty in 2012 to two felony counts of sexual contact with a student.

The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported Tuesday the lawsuit alleges that high school Principal Paul Dodson and Assistant Principal Tammy Ridgeway were warned several times that Knehans and the student were involved. It alleges that the administrators did not intervene to stop the relationship.

Knehans is also named in the lawsuit.

The district's attorney, Chris Rackers, said district officials would not comment on the lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year but amended this month.

Published in Local News

 A tragic accident claims the life of a well-liked teacher and coach in O'Fallon, Illinois.  

The Belleville News Democrat reports 33-year-old O'Fallon Township High School teacher Matt Seipp died Monday at St. Louis University Hospital after falling from a ladder on Sunday.

Seipp, who also owned Seipp Lawn Care LLC in O'Fallon, was well-known throughout the community.

The paper reports O'Fallon Police Chief John Betten says Seipp apparently died as a result of injuries after falling off a ladder Sunday. 

Betten said officers responded to a 911 call at 12:36 p.m. Sunday for a male victim with unknown injuries in the 800 block of Scott-Troy Road.

When officers and emergency workers arrived on scene, Betten said they determined the victim had fallen from a ladder while working in the garage and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Anderson Hospital in Maryville with the intent of meeting ARCH Air Medical Services there. Rainy weather prevented the crew from flying.

O'Fallon EMS proceeded to transport Seipp by ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital. A spokesman for the hospital declined to give Seipp's condition and referred questions to the family, which is standard policy when a death has occurred. Members of the immediate family could not be reached.

Seipp was a teacher in the industrial technology department at OTHS. He began his career at OTHS during the 2002-03 school year.

He also served as assistant baseball coach for the O'Fallon Panthers in 2003 and 2004.  Seipp is survived by his wife, Jodie, and infant son, Drew. Jodie Bell Seipp also works at OTHS as chair of the English Department.

Students, colleagues and friends of Seipp flooded Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites with tributes. 

Guidance counselors and social workers are available at O'Fallon Township High School for any student or employee needing assistance, according to Benway. Flags at all O'Fallon schools are being flown at half-staff in Seipp's memory, Benway said.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Schildknecht Funeral Home in O'Fallon.

 

Published in Local News

WELDON SPRING, Mo. (AP) - A Republican state representative from St. Charles County has been fired from his teaching job, and he plans to sue the district over his dismissal.

 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that education board members of the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles County met in closed session Monday and voted to dismiss Bryan Spencer. The district had previously refused to grant him unpaid leave of absence while he serves in the Legislature.

 

Spencer's attorney says it is wrong to punish someone for successfully seeking public office. But school district attorney Cindy Ormsby says there is no constitutional right to hold two jobs at one time. She denied that the board action had anything to do with Spencer's political affiliation.

 

Spencer was elected in November.

 

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Jefferson City middle and high school band teacher has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for having sexual contact with a student.

The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that Christopher Knehans's attorney argued for a 30-day sentence Wednesday. But Judge Dan Green Wednesday ordered the maximum 60 days allowed by the plea agreement, beginning immediately.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty in September to two counts of sexual contact with a student.

Under the sentence, Knehans will serve serve three years supervised probation after he is released from the jail. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

The indictment said he inappropriately touched a 17-year-old student in September 2011.
Published in Local News

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