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Gazette Premium Content Former Calhan teacher pleads guilty to sexual abuse; prison time possible

By Lance Benzel Updated: October 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm

A former drama and choir teacher at Calhan High School faces a possible prison term after admitting to a sexual relationship with a teenage student.

Amanda Katherine Rowles, 28, pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual abuse of a child by one in a position of trust, court records show.

Rowles, who school administrators say taught at Calhan High School from 2009 to 2012, was arrested in December on suspicion of pursuing sex with two 17-year-old boys during the 2011-12 school year. But under the terms of a plea agreement, all counts related to the second boy are to be dismissed - a standard concession for defendants who agree to forgo a trial.

According to lead prosecutor Kelson Castain, the deal does not have a stipulated sentence, meaning El Paso County District Judge David A. Gilbert will decide Rowles' fate, assuming the judge accepts the plea deal at a sentencing scheduled for Dec. 10.

If the judge imposes prison, Rowles could be looking at a stiff penalty.

Under Colorado's "indeterminate" sentencing for sex offenders, Rowles faces up to six years in prison, but Colorado Department of Corrections officials could elect to hold her until she is deemed safe for the community - up to the rest of her life.

If the judge imposes probation, Rowles could face 10 years to life on sex offender intensive supervised probation. A probationary sentence could also include up to 90 days in jail or up to two years on jail work release, prosecutors say.

El Paso County deputies began investigating in September 2012 after a tip from Calhan school administrators that Rowles may have had a sexual relationship with a former student. Deputies interviewed Rowles' former students, many of whom said they had heard rumors about the teacher. The investigation ultimately led to the teenage boys.

One of the students told investigators he had sex with Rowles "on at least 40 occasions" over six months, starting in December 2011, an arrest affidavit said.

Another student told deputies he had a sexual relationship with Rowles in the spring of 2011 after they kissed in a classroom after school.

That boy told investigators he was "hurt" when Rowles broke off the relationship, according to court documents.

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