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07-14-04 Convicted ex-Knoxville coach loses right to teach

By Shelley Grieshop

  A former New Knoxville High School teacher and coach has been permanently stripped of his teaching certificate in Ohio following a conviction for having sex with a student.

  Patrick McGue, 32, of Wapakoneta, will never be eligible to reapply for his teaching certificate with the Ohio Board of Education, which voted unanimously (18-0) to revoke his certificate on Tuesday.
  J.C. Benton, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said the revocation and reason for it will be added to a national database available to all schools in the country. The database will insure that McGue will likely not be able to apply for a teaching certificate anywhere else in the future, Benton said.
  McGue pleaded guilty April 29 to one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court in Wapakoneta, following an investigation by the Auglaize County Sheriff's Department. On June 30, Judge Frederick Pepple sentenced him to two years in prison for having sex with a 17-year-old student while employed at New Knoxville High School.
  McGue, a former varsity basketball coach at the school, also was labeled a sexually-oriented offender at the June hearing.  In a plea bargain with prosecutors, McGue voluntarily surrendered his teaching certificate; the board's action Tuesday made the action official with the state.
  Benton said it's rare when Ohio teachers cross that line and get sexually involved with students.
  "You have to realize that this kind of thing happens to less than 1 percent of Ohio's 140,000 teachers," Benton said. "Yet it's sad when it happens to even one child."
  School administrators in Ohio perform mandatory criminal background checks on prospective teachers and other staff before hiring. More than a dozen states currently do not require schools to do background checks.
  Ohio also is one of only a handful of states where it is against the law for a teacher or coach to have sex with a student even if the student is 18 years old or older. In many states, it is not a criminal act for a teacher to have sex with a student as long as the student is 16.
  Ohio law considers the act an important breach of trust between a person in authority and recognizes that sexual advances by a teacher could leave lasting emotional scars on the student, Benton said.
  The action Tuesday by the Ohio Board of Education occurred at its monthly meeting where 21 others -- teachers, substitute teachers and teacher aides -- were being revoked of certificates and licenses.
  Of the 22 total cases considered, five dealt with sexual misconduct of varying degrees with students, including one teacher who was convicted of rape, sexual battery and pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor.
  A few of the other violations reviewed by the board involved school staff personnel convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, public indecency, endangering children, attempted felonious assault, drug abuse and trafficking, falsifying an application, theft from a booster club, identity theft and forgery, aggravated menacing and felony drunk driving.


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