Ex-Rochester teacher gets 4 to 15 years in prison for sex with students

Kathryn Houghtaling, 27, was sentenced to 4 to 15 years in prison for having sex with two students at Rochester High School.

Kathryn Houghtaling, the former Rochester High School teacher has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for having sex with a student and for giving one them drugs. 

Houghtaling was arrested in January 2019 and charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct. The special education teacher is charged with having sex with two boys, ages 16 and 17.

She agreed to a no-contest plea before her trial was to start in January. 

On Tuesday, Houghtaling was sentenced to 51 months (4 years and 3 months) to 15 years in prison for the criminal sexual conduct plus 51 months to 8 years for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. The sentencing will be served concurrently.

She must also comply with DNA and HIV testing and will register as a sex offender.

During Tuesday's sentencing, the prosecuting attorney said Houghtaling had shown no remorse for her actions.

"Still, to this minute this defendant has expressed no remorse: (She believes) this is everyone else's fault, she blames the victims. She makes statements to the probation agent which I found outrageous, claiming that she was threatened by one of these victims that he would harm her, he would harm her husband, that he would killer dogs or burn down her house," the prosecutor said.

Despite the chance to tell the school, detectives, and attorneys, but never said it publicly. 

"Up to the day before she was interviewed by the police, she was texting the victim on (four of the counts) wanting to know if (the victim) could hang out with her," the prosecutor said.

The county prosecutor asked for maximum guidelines in sentencing.

Two family members of Houghtaling gave victim impact statements 

"I trust those adults are there to help and educate them, not to harm him. Never did I imagine that one of those adults would violate him by initiating a 'sexual relationship' with him. This relationship included unapproved rides home, alcohol, admittedly provided by Mrs. Houghtaling, sex in cars, and even Mrs. Houghtaling sneaking into my home in the middle of the night to be with my son," the mom said.

She said her son was the punchline of jokes and was taunted by students during a basketball game. 

According to sources, Houghtaling engaged in sexual acts with teens after school in a car off-campus. She also allegedly had sex with students inside an apartment.

The uncle of the other student, who had recently lost his mother and was living in their care, says the boy was victimized by Houghtaling just months after her death.

"When you do and cross lines that can never be corrected, there's something wrong there," the guardian said. "Ms. Houghtaling gained my trust at a meeting for special needs children and she was the advocate that wanted and stepped up and said 'I want to help your nephew'. Therefore, when I hear requests from her I have a different feeling because I'm thinking she's his advocate, she's there helping."

The uncle then explained a night where Houghtaling insisted on coming over to their home to help the boy make dinner. 

"When I returned from dinner, he was as high as a kite from drugs that she had given him," he said. 

His uncle said she's been going through counseling and had to be removed from the school due to ridicule from students that included threats.

"We have a responsibility to these children who were entrusted with a professional and the state of the lives and the continuance of their lives," the uncle said.

Houghtaling then spoke and said she was taking responsibility for her actions.

"My actions have consequences that will affect me, my husband, my family, and friends," she said. "I want to apologize to all the parties involved, specifically to my students. I know that my actions betrayed the duty and the responsibility I had as a teacher. I sincerely never intended for my relationship with them to cause them drama."

Houghtaling said she fears being incarcerated and knows it will affect her life, marriage, and future. 

"I've learned to take full responsibility for my controllable actions and know to seek help for those actions which I cannot control," Houghtaling said.

She got credit for two days served and must have no contact with the victims. After the sentencing, Houghtaling was led away in handcuffs.