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COA rejects ex-teacher’s appeal for lighter sentence for seduction of student

September 29, 2016

A former Indiana teacher and coach convicted of child seduction with a student cannot have his sentence reduced after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that his character and the nature of his offense do not warrant a lighter sentence.

In the case of Jakob Robinson v. State of Indiana, 79A02-1603-CR-522, Jakob Robinson, a former teacher and coach at McCutcheon High School in Tippecanoe County, pleaded guilty to five counts of Level 5 felony child seduction in September 2015.

Robinson’s plea came after K.F., his student, informed the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department that she had a sexual relationship with Robinson. K.F. reported that between October 2014 and January 2015, Robinson engaged her in numerous sexual encounters both during and after school hours, bought her clothing and jewelry, met with her in public in the presence of his two minor daughters and confided in her about the problems in his marriage.

After his plea, the Tippecanoe Superior Court sentenced Robinson to eight years, with five years executed and three years suspended to probation.

The former teacher appealed his sentence, saying it was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character. All of the offenses he was convicted of occurred with the same student in a short period of time, Robinson said, so his sentence should have been lighter.

Further, Robinson argued that the trial court improperly considered his position of trust with K.F. as an aggravator because the facts related to his position over K.F. “did not exceed that necessary to prove an element of the offense of child seduction.”

But in its Wednesday opinion, the Court of Appeals wrote that it easily rejected Robinson’s arguments.

“The fact that Robinson, over several months, repeatedly victimized a minor who trusted him does not mitigate his sentence,” the court wrote. “And Robinson’s suggestion that his obvious position of trust over K.F. was nothing more than that necessary to establish an element of the offense of child seduction is not supported by cogent reasoning.”

The appellate court also wrote that Robinson’s character did not warrant a lighter sentence, saying instead that his guilty plea, his lack of criminal history and his support within the community were the reasons he only received an eight-year sentence when the maximum sentence was 30 years.
 

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