MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) - A former school band director was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison for sexual conduct with his students.
Kevin Kohler, 38, of Norwalk, apologized for his actions in Richland Common Pleas Court and agreed to a plea deal, a month after pleading innocent to charges including rape and supplying pornography.
Kohler pleaded no contest to one count of rape and guilty to six counts of sexual battery. A no contest plea means the defendant doesn't admit guilt but won't fight the charge.
In exchange, prosecutors dropped a second rape count, 11 counts of sexual battery, 11 counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and one count of pandering.
"I hope I can get help to understand why I have done what I have done," Kohler told Judge James DeWeese.
Kohler said he wants to work to prevent sexual assaults upon his release.
Kohler was accused of having sexual contact with five children dating back to November 1999, sheriff's Sgt. Jeff McBride said.
Kohler resigned in August as the Madison Junior High School band director and assistant band director at Madison Comprehensive High School. He had worked for the district nine years.
Authorities began investigating him in July on accusations that he had inappropriate conversations with children by telephone and computer and sent pornography to them over the Internet.
Prosecutors asked that his pension built up through the State Teachers Retirement System be used for restitution to the victims, which the court has not yet determined.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)