A former Ohio teacher who had sex with a student in a classroom pantry because he “looked and acted like her husband” has been sentenced to two years behind bars.
Laura Bucy, 34, was given the sentence after emotional statements from the victim and his parents, who detailed the long-term damage her sexual abuse has caused their family.
“You have seriously injured this boy,” his unidentified victim’s father said, according to The Source. “We fear he will never be the same. I hope the court sends you to prison.”
Bucy, a home economics teacher, pleaded guilty in June to sexual battery, a third-degree felony, after admitting to a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old at Twinsburg High School in 2018.
Bucy was arrested in 2018 and confessed to police that she’d had sex with a male student once in the fall of 2017, soon after starting her job in Twinsburg. She also sent inappropriate text messages to the teen, and bought vaping products and marijuana for him.
As part of her sentence, the paper reports Bucy was designated a sex offender, requiring her to report her address to authorities every three months for the remainder of her life.
Bucy allegedly told police that she and the student had a “very strong connection” and that he often came into her classroom to help her clean, according to an arrest report obtained by Source.
The boy “looked and acted like her husband,” investigators said Bucy told them. On one occasion, Bucy and her victim had sex together in a classroom pantry. She also admitted to buying the teen supplies for vaping and purchasing $10 worth of marijuana for him.
Bucy told investigators she and the boy only had sexual intercourse once, but that the pair later sent sexually explicit photos and videos to each other, the report said.
The teen, who did not appear in court, provided a written statement that was read aloud. He described how he felt like Bucy “had all the power over me” during the illicit relationship. He believed that she could have gotten him in trouble at school or altered his grades, he said, according to local station WOIO.
“It truly got out of hand. I began drinking alone in my room on weekdays,” he said. “I started to isolate myself from others and stopped communication with my family so I could be alone.”
The teen said Bucy told him he had to keep the sex a secret so that she did not lose her job.
The student’s father revealed Bucy told his son that he could never tell anyone about what happened, or she’d lose her job and her children. The boy’s mother told the court her son did not attend his senior prom, and has had trouble with dating ever since the illicit sexual encounter.
The abuse had damaging effects, he said.
“I pray you are never allowed to work with students,” the teen said, according to the local paper. “No kid should ever have to go through this.”
The teen’s mother also spoke to the effects of the relationship in court, saying that the abuse had hindered her son’s ability to have a normal dating life.
“He’s supposed to feel safe and protected at school—and you took that away from him,” she said, according to the local paper.
Bucy’s attorneys had asked the judge to consider probation, citing her lack of a previous criminal record and mental health issues.
“She has a great deal of remorse,” attorney Larry Whitney said. “She wants to get to the bottom of why this occurred. She wants to get this behind her.”
Bucy also spoke at the sentencing hearing, apologizing to the teen, his family and her own family, who were all impacted by her decisions.
“They all deserve better and I’m sorry I allowed this to occur,” she said, according to the paper. “I do not believe this incident is a true reflection of who I am and will never let it happen again.”
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Susan Baker Ross sentenced Bucy to two years behind bars, but said she would be willing to consider early release after six months.
Bucy, who will now have to register as a sex offender as part of her sentence, has surrendered her teaching certificate.