The former special education teacher who was accused of a sexual relationship with one of her teen students last year has taken a plea deal, according to a story in the Middletown Press.
Christine Powell entered a guilty plea Tuesday morning at Middlesex Superior Court through her attorney, John Maxwell, while prosecutors asked the judge for a five-year prison sentence, suspended after 18 months, followed by 10 years of probation. She would be required to register as a sex offender, according to the Press.
At least a year before police arrested Powell, other teachers and district paraprofessionals had significant concerns about Powell’s behavior with the student.
Those concerns and suspicions were strong enough that one paraprofessional quit over what she felt was an inappropriate relationship between Powell and the boy, who at the time was in middle school, and another raised concerns about the situation, at least twice, with an administrator.
Powell resigned prior to her arrest, in late 2011.
It was the boy’s mother who eventually went to police in late November of 2011, after her son had been in a relationship with Powell for many months and after the boy had spent a weekend with her.
Most of the teachers and teacher aides who would later tell police they thought something was amiss with Powell never even brought their concerns to their bosses, the warrant shows. Some went directly to Powell to warn her that she was treading on dangerous ground with the boy, warnings she brushed off, the arrest warrant states.
Despite the standing order that Powell wasn’t to be alone with the boy, one teacher, David Munoz, saw Powell in a locked classroom with the teen when he was a student at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, where Powell also taught. Munoz never brought the situation to the attention of his bosses, a decision he told police he later regretted.
“Munoz said that he was concerned about Powell and the victim,” the arrest affidavit states. “He said he was very glad I was investigating this and he felt bad that he didn’t do more when he was first aware that something was not right.”
Numerous other teachers and aides had similar misgivings.
The teen and his mother, named only in the suit as "John and Jane Doe," filed a civil suit against the city last June. They are seeking damages for school officials' negligence in its handling of Powell and for failing to report suspected abuse to police.
Connecticut law requires a mandatory minimum of nine months in jail for second-degree sexual assault.
Powell is due back in court for a sentencing hearing on June 7.
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