Hug Between Teacher And Student Leads To Charge Of Battery

| by Jordan Smith
Kristen RoushKristen Roush

A Mission Viejo, California, teacher recently accepted a plea deal, admitting to one misdemeanor charge of battery for hugging a student at La Paz Intermediate School.

Kristen Roush, 35, was accused last October of having inappropriate relations with a 15-year-old male student, a claim she has always denied.

The mother of the 15-year-old overreacted and called the police, leading to a lengthy investigation, Roush told KTLA on Sept. 21.

One day in late October 2014, police officers met Roush, who is married, as she was returning home with her preschool-aged child and arrested her.

“Three men showed up behind my car at the garage and said they needed to talk to me and that I needed to call someone to take my child,” Roush said.

The 15-year-old’s mother was reportedly angered after Roush gave the teen boy a ride home one day.

“He got out of the car and she said, 'You are not supposed to be with her,'” Roush said. “I said I was under the impression he had permission and she said, 'Kids lie all the time’.”

The mother then allegedly called 911 on Roush, and Roush was charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

“We investigated this case extensively and found that the child admitted to lying to his mother regarding certain issues,” said Roush’s attorney, David Wohl, according to LAist. “He made claims that [Roush] kissed him that were simply and totally untrue and were never going to be proven in a court of law.”

At the time of Roush’s arrest, authorities alleged that evidence of her relationship with the student had been found on his cell phone.

“There’s absolutely nothing of a sexual nature whatsoever,” Wohl said, according to the Orange County Register.

The plea deal means that the charges of lewd and lascivious behavior were dropped, leaving just the one misdemeanor. This remaining charge was for battery, stemming from Roush hugging the 15-year-old boy. She was sentenced to three years of formal probation.

Roush explained that she decided to accept the plea bargain to avoid putting her family through a trial and forcing them to appear in court.

“The most contact Kristen had with her students, and it was more than one, were hugs, innocent hugs,” Wohl added, KTLA reported.

The deal required Roush to resign from her position as a teacher.

“There was no way for her to ever go back,” Wohl added. “She’s basically weighing her options. She’s a very smart woman, and she has great family support and has weathered this fairly well. She knew she was innocent.”

Sources: KTLA, LAist, Orange County Register / Photo credit: LAist