Prosecutor agrees to drop 6 of 8 charges
A former Peabody-Burns teacher charged in February with eight felonies alleging unlawful sexual relations and sexual exploitation of two students struck a plea deal Monday that is expected to get him probation.
According to a plea agreement filed in court Tuesday, Christopher R. Young, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Five charges of unlawful sexual relations and a third count of sexual exploitation of a child were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled.
“The defendant is expected to fall into a border box on the Kansas sentencing grid; therefore the parties agree to a border box finding placing the defendant on probation,” the agreement reads.
County attorney Courtney Boehm said she signed off on the agreement because no charges were reduced and victims did not have to retell the incidents.
“This prevented having to bring victims to court to testify,” Boehm said. “It helped ensure victim safety and public safety, and didn’t require having the victims walk through what happened to them.”
The plea agreement specifies that before Young’s probation begins, he will serve 14 days in jail. He will complete a sex offender evaluation and follow any recommendations made, as well as register as a sex offender, surrender his teaching license, and have no contact with the victims.
Judge Michael Powers set sentencing for Aug. 14.
Kansas sentencing guidelines permit a judge to order either prison or probation when a conviction falls into a border box category. Depending on whether he has no prior convictions or up to two misdemeanor convictions, he could be sent to prison for 31 to 38 months.
A probable cause affidavit earlier filed in Young’s case states that photos on his cell phone and the cell phones of the victims included partially nude photos of all three.
It also states that Young gave one of the students a promise ring as a Christmas gift.
The sworn document details how police were tipped off to the situation, how many people talked to police, and itemizes information and evidence gathered before his arrest.
Young surrendered to authorities March 5 at Marion County Courthouse and was greeted by 40 supporters, ranging from high school students to retirees.
Bond was originally set at $150,000. At the request of Young’s attorney on that day, bond was lowered to a $50,000 surety bond, with an additional $100,000 personal recognizance penalty should he not show up in court