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Ex-Connellsville high school staffer sentenced in text case

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A former Connellsville Area High School math teacher who was accused of sending inappropriate texts to a student has been sentenced to intermediate punishment and a term of house arrest.

Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen on Monday sentenced Kevin Lee Bell, 27, of Mt. Pleasant to 18 months of intermediate punishment, with six months to be served on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

In addition, Leskinen ordered Bell to undergo a mental health evaluation.

State police charged Bell in March 2012 with sending sexual materials to a minor and corruption of minors. Police said Bell texted nude photos and a video of himself performing a sex act to a girl who was then 17 years old.

The girl testified during a preliminary hearing that the two contacted each other through social media and that she sent him nude photos of herself.

In May, Bell pleaded guilty to the corruption of minors charge before Leskinen. Court records show prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the charge of disseminating explicit sexual material to a minor.

The general plea was entered without a specific sentence attached, leaving the sentence to Leskinen's discretion.

Assistant District Attorney Meghann Mikluscak said the victim's mother was in agreement with the sentence but did not wish to make a statement at sentencing. Mikluscak said the sentence was in the aggravated range.

Bell did not comment prior to sentencing.

During an earlier court hearing, Bell testified he left work at the high school in Fayette County on March 20, 2012, when his principal advised him of the allegations.

When troopers interviewed him, Bell said he wanted to be honest, but he could not recall sending the messages to the teen because he had blacked out from drinking.

Bell said that his driver's license was under suspension at the time for drunken driving.

Bell resigned his teaching position in May 2012 and the state suspended his teaching certification in June 2012.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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