PORTAGE CO., Ohio (WJW) — A judge sentenced an Austintown woman and former superintendent to the maximum ten years in prison for having sex with a student and trying to have sex with another student years before.
In November, 35-year-old Laura Amero pleaded guilty to two felony sexual battery charges for sexual contact with a 16-year-old male student in 2017. It happened while she was superintendent of Windham Exempted Village Schools in Portage County.
She also pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of sexual imposition for attempting to have a sexual relationship with another 16-year-old male student between September 2015 and May 2016 while she was the high school principal there.
Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman sentenced Amero to a total of 10 years in prison.
Amero must also register as a Tier III sex offender for life, requiring in-person verification every 90 days.
“You didn’t just cross that line once,” a visibly angry Pittman said before issuing the sentence. “You hurt the victims. You hurt the school system. You’ve made a huge, negative impact on the school system.”
Amero apologized to the victims, community and her family, saying she is “ashamed” and she asked for forgiveness.
“I never imagined I would hurt my kids but I did,” she said, adding that she “allowed” lines to be crossed. “I am deeply sorry for the hurt, the pain and the chaos I’ve created in these families’ lives.”
The district placed Amero on paid administrative leave after allegations first arose in April 2019. She resigned from her role as superintendent in May. Amero was the principal at Windham High School at the time of the crimes.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped two misdemeanor charges of victim intimidation.
Amero’s attorney, Joseph Gorman, said she has sought counseling since her arrest, married in December and is expecting a baby in March.
Gorman said he was seeking community control instead of a prison sentence and Amero plans to appeal. He also said the victims are expected to file civil litigation against Amero.