Ex-Moon teacher sentenced to jail in sex case
A former Moon Area High School health and gym teacher who had sex with a freshman and sent him nude pictures of herself continued to contact the student even after police arrested her, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Beth Ann Chester, 27, of Scott was sentenced to 1 1⁄2 to 3 years in jail in a deal with prosecutors for pleading guilty to three charges stemming from the romantic relationship she had with the then-14-year-old boy.
"I wanted to apologize to everyone," Chester told Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman. "I know this is the punishment I deserve. I'm really sorry for everything."
Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka said the boy's family probably would have wanted a shorter sentence if Chester had not continued to contact the boy after her arrest.
Moon police arrested her in January. A judge put Chester on house arrest after she contacted the boy in March.
"The family feels the only way to keep their son safe and to have their son thoroughly left alone by this woman is jail time," Ditka said.
Chester faced a maximum of 22 years in prison on the three charges. Prosecutors dropped eight other charges in the plea deal that includes five years of probation. During that time, she is not allowed to contact the boy, own a cell phone or have Internet access. She relinquished her teaching license.
Chester, who was married, admitted to having sex with the boy numerous times, including once in the school parking lot.
"It's a very tough pill to swallow but it's a fair plea bargain," said her attorney, Robert Del Greco. "I think Beth liked this boy, cared for him and had a relationship with him. It was obviously a mistake."
Chester taught ninth grade and coached girls' volleyball. She resigned Dec. 27, citing personal reasons. School officials contacted police a week later.
The boy's mother found lewd messages and nude pictures of Chester that she sent to the boy's phone, Ditka said.
The family initially did not want police involvement and met with Chester at a coffee shop and told her to resign. A school colleague, in whom Chester confided, informed district officials of the reason for her resignation, Del Greco said.
"It was not the family's intention to call the police," Ditka said. "But the family is fearful he would run away with her.
"Some might think it's different when it's a female teacher and a male student, rather than a male teacher and a female student. I see no difference."
The boy initially denied they had sex until Chester admitted it, police said.
"I think Beth Ann associated and looked to her students as her peer group and because of the age discrepancy the sex acts were a crime. I'm not saying it's right, but I think that was her mindset," Del Greco said.
The boy told police he and Chester exchanged text messages since October, when a girl on the volleyball team gave Chester his number.
Ditka described how their relationship progressed as Chester sat with him at varsity football games and attended his junior varsity games. She told him to schedule study hall with her.
Chester's husband filed for divorce in February.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Pa. Senate’s top leader backs liquor privatization bill
- Police intercept drug courier returning to Western Pennsylvania with 316 bricks of heroin
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- Woman struck by foul ball in ‘horrid’ scene at Pirates game
- Monongahela man gets 18 to 36 years for kidnapping, rape and torture of 21-year-old woman
- Hyde Park woman will stand trial on charges she had sex with a teenage boy
- Expert: Plum district’s silence about sex allegations could erode trust
- Authorities investigating as many as 20 dogs found dead in Hopewell
- Brentwood Borough School Board approves major cutbacks
- Plum triumphs in meeting of section leaders