ELYRIA — A Sheffield Lake woman who was employed at an Eaton Township charter school pleaded guilty to charges in connection with having a sexual relationship with a student.
Sarah Conway, 25, pleaded guilty to disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, which is a first-degree misdemeanor, Friday, according to court records. Conway had been indicted on four counts of felony sexual battery in June.
Conway was sentenced to misdemeanor probation and agreed to give up her licensed social worker certification and to never obtain a teaching certificate. The sentence was part of the plea agreement between Conway and prosecutors, which the mother of the victim approved, according to court documents.
Under the agreement, Conway does not have to register as a sex offender.
Conway turned herself into the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office on April 26 after initially saying the student, who turned 18 in March, was trying to blackmail her.
A news release at the time identified Conway as a staff member with Willow Creek Positive Education Program at 11600 Durkee Road. The charter school is part of the Cleveland Positive Education Program, which offers “integrated services to troubled and troubling children and their families,” according to the school’s website.
In a statement sent via email, the school said officials reported the allegations of the inappropriate relationship to law enforcement March 21, the day after Conway spoke to school officials about the relationship.
Select administrators and faculty learned of the relationship March 20 when Conway admitted the relationship, the email said, and the school was in the process of terminating her employment.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Conway told authorities that the student, who was assigned in November to work in her classroom as a helper, stole her phone, accessed her photos, sent the photos to his phone and then began sending her text messages.
The student told police Conway told him she liked him and that the two exchanged telephone numbers and started messaging each other, with the conversations turning sexual about one to two weeks later, according to the report.
According to the report from the Sheriff’s Office, Conway worked in an elementary classroom in the school along with a teacher and team associate. However, the school’s principal referred to her as a social worker during an interview with police.