A former Spanish teacher at Franklin High in Reisterstown has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors in a sexual offense against a student.
Ekatherine Pappas, 25, was charged after police said they discovered a video of her engaged in a sex act with a male student.
Pappas pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court last month to three counts of fourth-degree sex offense, according to county prosecutor Perry Wasserman. The state dropped additional counts of sexual abuse of a minor, which is a felony.
Judge Sherrie R. Bailey sentenced Pappas to three years of incarceration, suspending all but one year and one day, Wasserman said. Pappas was taken into custody after her hearing.
Pappas was also sentenced to five years of "specialized and enhanced supervised probation for sexual offenders" upon her release, the prosecutor said. In addition, she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
County police announced charges against the former teacher in January, at the time saying she had left the country. Wasserman said the state's investigation found Pappas went to Dulles International Airport in early January, when school authorities discovered the video. She bought a ticket to Bogota, Colombia, and flew there that day.
The same day, the victim was interviewed and police obtained an arrest warrant for Pappas, Waserman said. Pappas returned to Dulles a few weeks later, and was arrested at the airport.
The victim was 16, according to charging documents in the case. He told detectives that Pappas asked him to leave the school during school hours on two occasions in December, and drove with him to the victim's home. One of the encounters was recorded.
Police said a school resource officer at Franklin became aware of the video and alerted the Police Department's Crimes Against Children Unit, according to charging documents filed in court.
School officials have previously said Pappas had been working at the school for about a month when the incident occurred. They said they took "appropriate personnel action" including a recommendation of termination.
Defense attorney Craig M. Kadish said Pappas did not know she was being recorded. He also said his client “had no training at all” from the county school system.
In a statement submitted to the court, the teen's father said his son and the rest of his family have been affected "in devastating and profound ways."
"I cannot begin to explain the terror of being notified that my son had been sexually abused and it was on videotape that had been circulated throughout the school for others to see," he said in the statement, adding that he did not allow his son to return to the school afterward.
The Baltimore Sun does not identify victims of sexual offenses and is not naming the student's father to avoid identifying him.
"As a young man, this entire ordeal has been extremely confusing for him, just as it would be for any victim that is exposed to sexual activity before they are at a level of maturity," his father said in his statement to the court. "Our home is no longer viewed as a safe environment, since it is the location where the assault took place."
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect comment from Pappas’ defense attorney.