Former Twinsburg teacher gets early prison release after serving nine months for sexual battery
A former Twinsburg teacher sentenced to prison for sexual battery involving her inappropriate relationship with a student will be released after serving about nine months behind bars.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Susan Baker Ross, who sentenced Laura Bucy to two years in prison in January, granted her an early release Thursday. The judge placed her on probation for three years.
Joe Gorman and Larry Whitney, Bucy’s attorneys, were pleased with Ross’ decision, which they said was in line with how similar cases involving male and female teachers have been handled.
“We thought that not only the original sentence but the decision for judicial release was consistent and fair,” Gorman said.
Prosecutors, though, were opposed to Bucy’s release, noting the emotional toll this took on the student.
Bucy, 35, of Akron, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to sexual battery, a third-degree felony. Prosecutors dismissed a charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
Bucy began working as a family and consumer sciences teacher in Twinsburg in August 2017. She admitted — first to a family member and then to police — having sex once with a male student, then 17, at the high school and sharing illicit images with him.
Before her employment in Twinsburg, Bucy worked for the Ravenna, Akron and Strongsville school districts. Prior to that, for brief times, she was a student teacher in the Akron and Springfield districts and a substitute teacher with the Cuyahoga Falls district.
After her arrest, Bucy resigned her position in Twinsburg, surrendered her teaching certificate and dropped out of graduate school.
Bucy faced up to five years in prison. During her sentencing, she apologized to the victim, his family and her colleagues.
Former teacher sentenced to prison:Laura Bucy apologizes in tearful statement
Bucy was eligible for an early release after serving six months in prison. Gorman and Whitney filed the request in July.
The attorneys noted that Bucy contracted COVID-19 while in prison, was quarantined and then remained in a virtual lockdown because of COVID-19 protocols. Because of this, they said, she hasn’t been able to complete much programming. They said Bucy has the support of her family and a job, though she won’t be permitted to teach again.
Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Miller urged Ross to deny Bucy’s request. He said in his response to the early-release request that Bucy cultivated a relationship with the male student, exchanged illicit photos with him and had sex with him on school grounds. Afterward, he said, the student became withdrawn from his family, started drinking alcohol and blamed himself for what had happened. The prosecutor said this will cause the teen “a lifetime of pain.”
Ross outlined several requirements for Bucy to follow while she’s on probation. The judge said Bucy must undergo psychological treatment, may have no unsupervised contact with minors unless in the presence of another adult and may only attend her children’s school functions when accompanied by another adult. She said Bucy also cannot have contact with the victim in this case.
Bucy was designated a Tier 3 sex offender, which means she'll be required to report her address every 90 days for the rest of her life.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at email@example.com, 330-996-3705 and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.