LIMA — Former Lima Senior High School teacher Alan Kingsbery on Wednesday emphatically denied ever initiating physical contact of any sort with a female special-needs student at the school.
His statement came during a hearing in Allen County Common Pleas Court during which Kingsbery, indicted by a grand jury earlier this year on a felony charge of gross sexual imposition, entered a plea of guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of disturbances relative to schools.
Judge Terri Kohlrieser sentenced the 66-year-old Lima man to 90 days in the county jail, all suspended, and levied a $250 fine. Kingsbery will be on probation for one year and must perform 20 hours of community service.
The original indictment against Kingsbery alleged that on March 16 he had sexual contact with a minor female whose ability to resist or consent “was substantially impaired because of a mental condition.” Kingsbery was placed on administrative leave following his indictment and eventually resigned his position as a schoolteacher.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Mariah Cunningham said the Bill of Information charge against Kingsbery was reduced out of a “joint goal” on the part of prosecutors and the defendant to spare the alleged victim any trauma associated with a jury trial.
Kingsbery’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, said the case against his client was largely a case of “bad optics.” He said the student in question who is enrolled in the special needs program at Lima Senior would “almost daily hide beneath a desk” in a classroom. On March 16, Koffel said, the girl was again hiding and Kingsbery was attempting to convince her to come out.
“She said she would come out if she could brush Alan’s eyebrows with her eyebrow brush. Alan assented to her request and that’s when another person came in and saw the two of them in the back of the room. He knew right away the optics were terrible,” Koffel said. “But he absolutely denies ever touching her, period.”
Koffel said his client “probably should have spoken up from the beginning of this case but he didn’t because he was following the instructions of the (teachers’) union attorney.”
Kingsbery spoke only briefly on Wednesday, telling the judge, “I look forward to getting this behind me. I never touched her.”
Kingsbery was a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic cycling team that competed in the summer games in Montreal, Canada.