Southern Local teacher convicted after affair with former studen - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Southern Local teacher convicted after affair with former student

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HOLCOMB, Kansas -

An East Liverpool woman on paid leave from her job as a science teacher at Southern Local Schools has been found guilty of reduced charges stemming from an alleged sexual affair she had with one of her students from a previous teaching job.

A judge in Kansas found Katie Rufener guilty of three counts of simple battery after she pleaded no contest on Wednesday.

District Judge Robert Frederick sentenced Rufener to 180 days in jail on each count, but suspended the sentence and placed her on non-reporting probation for one year.

Conditions of the probation include obeying the laws in any state and not having contact with the victim.

Rufener was originally charged with having unlawful relations with one of her 18-year-old high school students on three separate occasions when she was a teacher in Holcomb, Kansas last spring.   

Although investigators say that the alleged sexual relations between Rufener and the student were consensual, courts have upheld a Kansas law making it illegal for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student, even if that student is an adult.

When the allegations first surfaced last year, Southern Local School Superintendent John Wilson told 21 News that Rufener's future as an employee at Southern Local depends on the outcome of the investigation in Kansas.

She was placed on administrative leave from Southern Local on October 1st, which was the same day she first appeared in a Kansas courtroom to answer the three original felony counts.

Rufener's biography on the Southern Local School website says she is a 2007 graduate of Badger High School in Kinsman and a 2011 magna cum laude graduate from Thiel College.

She was a teacher in Kansas from 2012 until her resignation from Holcomb High School last year.

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