MANSFIELD -- Former Crestview band director and music teacher Christopher Thompson was sentenced to three years of community control Wednesday after pleading guilty to sexual battery against a student.
Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge Brent Robinson noted that Thompson had a relationship with a student, which began when she was 17 years old.
"When you make bad decisions, often, there are bad consequences," Robinson told Thompson. "And in your case, your bad decision not only violates the vows of your marriage, but also this person was a student, so it's looked at differently than another 18-year-old you'd met."
An incident report states the female victim (then 18) stayed after school with Thompson. The two engaged in kissing and groping of the genitals, with clothing on in Thompson's classroom.
The report notes the victim said they never had intercourse.
According to the Richland County Prosecutor's Office, there were three similar incidents in the winter of 2017.
"There's a different type of relationship that happens," Robinson said. "As teachers, the student looks up to you and that makes this much more serious under the law. If you're an adult and she is an adult, that is one thing, but the authority as a teacher -- that's what makes this a criminal act."
The state requested Thompson receive three years of community control.
Terri L. Burnside, an assistant prosecuting attorney, said her office spoke with the victim, who said she and had moved on from this incident. Burnside said the victim did not want to see Thompson go to prison.
The former teacher also must pay a fine of $5,000 because he is not going to prison. If he violates his probation, he could receive up to 60 months in prison.
"Obviously, you know any violations of this court will not allow for a second chance," Robinson said.
Thompson works full-time at Home Depot and has a self-owned custom furniture business, defense attorney Bob Whitney said Thompson has no prior criminal history.
"I regret this and I'm ready to move forward with my life and my child, and I look forward to (working) with you guys," Thompson said.