Cuyahoga Falls, OH – A high school counselor pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a 17-year-old student who was having suicidal thoughts as his parents were going through a divorce.
Rebecca Sparrow, 37, pleaded guilty to the felony charge in November and was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for the 2016 incident, according to the New York Post.
The 17-year-old student was referred to a counselor at Cuyahoga Falls High School, and instead of helping the student, Sparrow had sex with him, according to prosecutors.
“She fully understood what she was doing and the wrongfulness, and continued to do it — over and over and over,” Assistant Prosecutor Felicia Easter said Monday, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Sparrow cried as she apologized in court.
“I’m so sorry for my betrayal and broken trust,” said Sparrow, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “You all expected more from me — and I let you down.”
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones said that Sparrow’s actions were “perverse.”
Prosecutors said that Sparrow had told the teenager numerous times while she victimized him that she could lose her job and go to jail if anyone found out they were having sex. Sparrow also lied to school officials about the sexual abuse.
Easter said that during an evaluation, Sparrow said it was the student's fault for coming on to her and that he consented to it. She said that because it was the victim's fault, Sparrow believed her punishment should be minimal.
The person who evaluated Sparrow said she didn’t show any empathy or remorse but instead was focused on she had been humiliated, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Mike Callahan, Sparrow’s attorney, said the student was now 20 and sent a letter to the court and didn’t think Sparrow should be incarcerated.
Sparrow was recently divorced and has two young children, according to the Columbus Dispatch.