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MONROE - An investigation that began more than a year ago when Kelly Abdo told authorities she was the victim of harassing text messages ended yesterday when the former high school teacher was sentenced to probation for indecent exposure.
Ms. Abdo, 28, who was fired from her job at Monroe High School after she was accused of having sexual relations with two male students, was sentenced in Monroe County District Court to two years probation. The conviction stems from an incident May 17 when she exposed herself to two high school teenagers while having sex with an 18-year-old student inside a parked car outside a house party on Riverview Avenue.
A teacher at the school since 2004, Ms. Abdo of Luna Pier pleaded no contest Feb. 11 to indecent exposure, a misdemeanor that carries a one year jail sentence. Judge Terrence Bronson told the packed courtroom he was sentencing her for the circumstances involving the indecent exposure conviction, not for other unproven allegations.
"The purpose of sentencing is for punishment, but also for rehabilitation. She has a good record," Judge Bronson said. "What happened here has received a lot of attention already."
Ms. Abdo's attorney, Mark Bilkovic, asked the judge to place his client on probation.
"This is a very bright, young, caring woman. I think if given the opportunity to be on probation, she will prove to this court she is not the person the media and others made her out to be," Mr. Bilkovic said.
Ms. Abdo fought back tears as she asked Judge Bronson to spare her from a jail sentence.
"This past year has been a nightmare for my family and me and my friends. So many nightmarish things have happened that I can barely recognize the person I see in the mirror. I have started taking steps to find myself again," she said. "Despite what I am going through, this has affected my family even worse than it affected me, and I am truly sorry for that."
Ms. Abdo, who was a volleyball coach and math teacher, was ordered by Judge Bronson to have no contact with boys or girls under 18 while on probation.
As part of the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, she surrendered her state teaching certificate and dropped efforts to appeal the Board of Education's dismissal action against her.
Court records show her husband filed for divorce March 13 in Monroe County Circuit Court.
According to reports, Ms. Abdo became the focus of a sheriff's office investigation in early March, 2008, after she complained about a harassing cell phone text, which she believed stemmed from her job as a volleyball coach. Investigators were subsequently told by a female student that the teacher and a male student were romantically involved. The student, then 17, denied to officers that there was any inappropriate behavior between them.
Sheriff's investigators later learned about the incident outside the house party, and interviewed two high school boys who said they saw Ms. Abdo and the 18-year-old in the teen's parked car.
The student subsequently admitted to having a relationship with the teacher, and authorities obtained Ms. Abdo's DNA on bedding taken from the teenager's home.
Authorities didn't charge Ms. Abdo in connection with the relationship with the 18-year-old because Michigan law allows consensual relations between a student and teacher if the student is 18 or older.
After the hearing, Mr. Bilkovic said Ms. Abdo was innocent of exposing herself, and she entered into the plea agreement to spare her family from taking the case to trial. "My client adamantly denies that she had sexual relationships with any of these individuals. She has denied these allegations since day one," he said. "It was a no-contest plea. There was no admission of guilt."
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