PORTAGE COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — A judge sentenced a former Windham Exempted Village Schools superintendent to the maximum ten years in prison for having sex with a student and attempting to have sex with another student when she was the high school principal.
Laura Amero, 35, of Austintown, in November pleaded guilty to two felony sexual battery charges for sexual contact with a 16-year-old male student in 2017.
She also pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of sexual imposition for attempting to have a sexual relationship with another 16-year-old male student between September 2015 and May 2016.
Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman Monday sentenced Amero to 60 months in prison on each of the battery charges, which will run consecutively beginning in April, and 180 days in the Portage County Jail on the imposition charge, to run concurrently with the prison term.
Amero must also register as a Tier 3 sex offender for life, requiring in-person verification every 90 days.
“You didn’t just cross that line once,” a visibly angry Pittman said before issuing the sentence. “You hurt the victims. You hurt the school system. You’ve made a huge, negative impact on the school system.”
Amero apologized to the victims, community and her family, saying she is “ashamed,” and she asked for forgiveness.
“I never imagined I would hurt my kids, but I did,” she said, adding that she “allowed” lines to be crossed. “I am deeply sorry for the hurt, the pain and the chaos I’ve created in these families’ lives.”
The district placed Amero on paid administrative leave after allegations first arose in April 2019, and she resigned from her role as superintendent in May. She was the principal at Windham High School at the time of the crimes.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped two misdemeanor charges of victim intimidation.
Amero’s attorney, Joseph Gorman, said she has sought counseling since her arrest, married in December and is due to give birth in March.
Gorman said he was seeking community control instead of a prison sentence and that Amero plans to appeal. He also said that the victims are expected to file civil litigation against Amero.
Breaking: Portage Co. judge has sentenced former Windham Schools superintendent Laura Amero to maximum 10-year prison sentence for sex with a student at Windham High School. pic.twitter.com/dOVWV1Sy0k
— Matt Wright Fox 8 (@mattwrighttv) February 10, 2020