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Ex-teacher sentenced for sex abuse

McCalister

CADIZ — A former Steubenville Catholic Central High School teacher was sentenced to two years of probation, community service and must register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to one count of sexual battery Tuesday.

Corissa A. McCalister, 22, of Steubenville accepted a plea agreement Tuesday in which she changed her original plea of not guilty to guilty in Harrison County Common Pleas Court. In exchange for the plea, a second count of sexual battery was dropped.

In April, McCalister was charged with two counts of sexual battery for having sex with a 15-year-old student in Harrison County.

When employed at the school in Jefferson County, she served as the head cross country coach and assistant track coach. According to prior reports, McCalister was driving the juvenile home from a track meet at Edison High School when she made a stop at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Cadiz and engaged in sex with the youth. Law enforcement officials were contacted after the victim’s mother notified the school of the allegations. McCalister was put on administrative leave and eventually fired from her position at the school.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge T. Shawn Hervey said the victim’s family was aware of the plea agreement and of McCalister’s possible sentence. He added that he had received a victim impact statement that would factor into his decision. Hervey then opened the floor to comments before sentencing. McCalister’s attorney, Dennis W. McNamara, spoke on behalf of his client.

“Ms. McCalister graduated from college and got her license as a teacher at 21, very young and obviously pretty advanced basis to do that; maybe not so much on a social behavior axis as far as maturity is concerned. She now is an ex-teacher and that is going to be permanent, courtesy of the state department of education, appropriately because of this conviction, which I consider to be a significant sanction that they have imposed,” he said.

McNamara noted that McCalister has been attending counseling and plans to continue doing so.

Hervey sentenced McCalister to two years of probation, 80 hours of community service and a reserved 2½-year prison sentence. She must also have no contact with the victim in the case. As a result of the conviction, McCalister must register as a Tier III sex offender the rest of her life.

Hervey then addressed McCalister.

“I’m not going to go through a long lecture. I’ve heard the facts of this case hashed out on both sides and I think all the factors of this case have led to this sentence that has been proclaimed here in the court today,” Hervey said.

“Punishment is necessary in this case because you held a position of trust and responsibility and you violated that and you’re going to face severe consequences for that; however, it’s my understanding that you still have the ability, you’re 22 years old, you still have a long life ahead of you and some day you can put this behind you.”

Although the victim was not present, Hervey said he wanted to speak to them on the record. He said that no sentence given in a sex offense case can undo the crime.

“That’s the sad part about this. The decision made in haste, in lust, whatever you want to call it, can ruin multiple lives for a long time. Unfortunately, that’s what happened here,” he said.

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