A former teacher's aide at a Texarkana, Texas, high school testified that she wasn't aware that sex with students is forbidden for all staff members, as opposed to just teachers — and in the end, 24-year-old Ashlyn Faye Bell was sentenced Monday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual misconduct with three underage males.
What's the background?
Testimony at the trial for Bell indicated she made contact with boys she met while working as an aide at Texas High School, the Texarkana Gazette reported, after which she picked them up from truck stops and their homes in the middle of the night — often with her 3-year-old daughter in the back seat. The paper reported that Bell took the boys to her home in New Boston where she had sex with them.
But Bell testified that she didn't realize Texarkana Independent School District policy prohibited all staff members from having sex with students, as opposed to teachers only, the Gazette said. However, a prosecuting attorney referred to documents Bell signed at new employee orientation regarding sexual harassment of staff and students — and that Bell earned a 90% on a related test, the paper reported.
Bell also claimed she believed the boys were 18, the Gazette noted, adding that victims testified that she told them she could get in trouble over the illicit relationships.
How did she plead?
Bell pleaded guilty last month to two counts of improper relationship between educator and student involving two 17-year-old boys and two counts of sexual assault of a child involving a 16-year-old boy, the paper said in a later story. She was sentenced to four years in prison on one count of sexual assault of a child and received probation for the other three counts, the Gazette added.
The judge ordered Bell to be supervised on a sex offender caseload once she's released from prison, the paper said, adding that she will be required to register as a sex offender. The Gazette added that Texas parole officials will not be able to consider Bell for release for two years.