Teacher sentenced for having sex with student
A former Basehor-Linwood High School teacher will serve two days in jail for inappropriate sexual relations with a student.
Scott Neil, who was a high school history teacher and wrestling coach, received a six-month suspended sentence Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court for one count of unlawful sexual relations with a 16-year-old student. Judge Gunnar Sundby also ordered Neil to spend 48 hours in jail with 12 months probation, during which he must complete a sex offender program and register as a sex offender.
Neil, a 44-year-old Tonganoxie resident, pleaded guilty Feb. 17 to the charge filed Feb. 15 for two incidents that took place with the female student, one around June 1, 2008, and the other Dec. 31, 2008. According to the Leavenworth County Attorney’s Office, one of the incidents took place in the high school.
The student’s mother addressed the court during Neil’s sentencing hearing, saying she was disturbed and disgusted by the actions of a man whom students in Basehor-Linwood trusted.
“I’m still trying to understand why Scott Neil … preyed on my young, naïve daughter,” she said. “We as parents believed we could send her to school safe with the assurance she would be taken care of by the faculty. I also wish my daughter had the self-confidence… to have not allowed it. She gave into the fantasy he created for her. She fell to his sickening charm. It sickens me he took something so intimate for a young lady and made a mockery of it.”
The mother asked the court to take into account the age difference between Neil and her daughter, as well as his position as a teacher at the time the crime occurred.
Neil’s attorney, Patrick Lewis, said Neil took full responsibility for his actions and had on numerous occasions expressed his remorse.
“I think the most important thing I can inform this court of is in all of our conversations, (Neil) has never attempted to push off responsibility,” Lewis said. “He has never blamed the young woman involved. He knows he had a responsibility as a teacher, and he violated that. He’s asked himself why this happened, how he could make such a big mistake, and he’s had difficulty figuring that out.”
Neil, also addressed the court before he was sentenced and said he hoped the student, her family, his own family and the school district could someday forgive him.
“I know this has not only damaged the life of the individual,” Neil said. “I apologize, and I hope they’ll someday accept my apology.”
Sundby imposed 48-hours in jail, to be arranged by Neil and the court services officer.
“You can take two days to think about what you’ve done, free from the distractions of home,” Sundby said. “I think you need an answer to why this happened.”
Neil was hired at the high school in 1996. He was earning $43,857 annually when he resigned his teaching and coaching duties in October 2009.
The Basehor-Linwood Board of Education suspended Neil with pay on May 20, 2009, pending completion of a police investigation into the matter. On Aug. 10, 2009, the board continued Neil’s suspension without pay, officials said. Neil resigned shortly thereafter, and the board unanimously approved his resignation on Oct. 12, 2009.
In addition to Neil, a second teacher in the Basehor-Linwood School District has been suspended in connection to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with the same female student.
School officials first brought the student’s case to the attention of law enforcement authorities on May 19, 2009, Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley said.
During the investigation of Neil, Martley said, police uncovered information of an inappropriate relationship between a 29-year-old teacher and the same student that allegedly took place during the 2008-2009 school year. That teacher was suspended with pay July 15, 2009. On Aug. 10, 2009, the board continued the suspension without pay. The teacher’s resignation was accepted Sept. 14.
The second case remains under investigation with no charges filed.
Basehor-Linwood Assistant Superintendent Mike Boyd in an earlier interview said the district had been taking action to prevent such inappropriate teacher-student relations from occurring in the future.
“We’ve had as many discussions as we can with principals of the schools and teachers about what is and is not appropriate when dealing with students,” Boyd said. “We’ve talked about not only in-person communication, but phone calls, text messages, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, all these forms of cyber communication, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”