A former Miamisburg teacher convicted of sex crimes in her middle school classroom last year with a 14-year-old addressed the court for about seven minutes Tuesday before being sentenced to a year in prison.
Jessica Langford touched on several topics in “begging” Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy O’Connell for leniency for the crime a jury on April 13 found her guilty of committing last spring in her Miamisburg Middle School classroom.
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The following is what the 32-year-old Centerville woman said in court:
“Your honor, I’ve always done the right things in my life..(inaudible)..I’m a college graduate, I’m married and I have a daughter. I’m ashamed of my actions that led me being here today, and I accept the jury’s verdict. I’ve been taking counseling, and I (intend) to get the help I need to better myself, my family and my community.
“My daughter is only 4 years old. She is my heart outside my body. My husband works 12-plus hours a day (and) is not home very often. Therefore, I am my daughter’s primary caregiver. I get her ready for the day, put her to bed at night, I pick her up for school, take her tumbling, and other activities. I give her baths, do her hair, play Barbies, among other things.
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“I love her more than I love myself. Please do not take her mother away from her at such a young age. When others watch her, she whines for me. When she’s scared, hurt, she only wants her mom. Even when my husband puts her to bed, she cries for Mommy.
“It breaks my heart to see her affected by my poor decisions. Having to register as a sex offender, I feel that is the ultimate punishment. I won’t be able to take her to school, attend her sporting events or even just take her to have fun at the park.
“My daughter is already confused by some of these things. I can already see the effect it is having on her. As she gets older, it will only get worse. I will already miss out on so much. I am begging you to consider her in (handing down) my sentencing.
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“Please do not punish her for my mistakes. My family is everything, especially my best friend, who I call mom. My mom has Stage 4 Endometrial cancer. She has been fighting for her life for over two years. She helps watch my daughter for short periods of time, even though it’s hard for her to walk and have the energy to play and watch a 4-year-old.
“I call my mom every day. I take her to her chemo appointments. My husband and I try to help my parents out financially. And I try to spend as much time with her as possible because I don’t know how much time she will be with us. I’ve dedicated my time and my efforts to make sure my mom knows that I love and am thankful to have her and to celebrate (her) life.
“My mom is strong, a faithful woman, a fighter and my hero. However, I am afraid that without me here, she will lose that fight. I don’t know how much time we have left with her. Please let me help her continue in helping her fight for her life.
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“Lastly, I would like to read a letter I wrote to (the victim) and his family in hopes that they will forgive me for putting them through all of this:
“Dear (victim’s name). This is a difficult letter to write. I’m sure it’s even harder to receive. But I would like to tell you how deeply sorry I am to you, your family and everyone else impacted by my actions on May 23, 2017. I wish I could go back and undo all that happened.
“I am completely responsible for my actions and should have never have used my power as a teacher and never have developed a friendship with a student. I take responsibility for my actions that were unbecoming a teacher. I want to apologize for using social media inappropriately.
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“We should have never exchanged any form of communication. By doing so, I highly overstepped my role as a teacher. I have to admit I had a difficult time separating my just being a teacher and being a friend. I wanted to be involved in my students’ lives, living my life through them – excited about their accomplishments inside and out of the classroom. I felt trapped in a teacher’s life.
“I was distracted and was unable to focus only on my teaching duties. I understand I should have communicated this distraction with my peers. I thought I could handle the attention and the overwhelming feeling of being (inaudible) a likeable, cool teacher accepted by my students - being the teacher all students wanted to have.
“I have learned that being a great teacher doesn’t mean I need to be a friend to students and that there should be boundaries between teacher/student relationships. I want to express to you and your family the remorse and regret that overtakes my heart and invades my mind every single day.
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“There isn’t a day that I wish I could do things differently. I know I am fully responsible for letting you come in that day. I take full accountability for my actions and choices I made. We should not have been alone together at all – especially in my classroom.
“I disappointed you and the Miamisburg community. I strive to improve myself and my reputation. While I cannot undo what has happened, I can learn from it and make sure it never happens again. I am learning to understand what I put you through and I am confident I will never get into the same situation.
“I’m sorry for all you have endured. It must have been hard getting asked questions by your peers…..I do not want to cause further grief to anyone and will work hard to ensure this type of behavior never happens again. I know this letter is too little, too late. But I want you to know how much I regret my actions and choices surrounding May 23, 2017. And want you to know that I’m sorry you and your family had to go through any of this. Respectfully, Jessica Langford.”
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