A former Elkhorn Middle School teacher is now a convicted felon after she sent what prosecutors call “highly explicit” photos of herself to one of her students.
Andrea Opell, 29, waived a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.
According to her plea agreement, between January 2013 and May 2014 Opell “sent flirtatious text messages and explicit photos of herself to a minor student at Elkhorn Middle School.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker confirmed that the minor was a boy Opell taught, but wouldn’t elaborate on the types of photos that were sent.
“Very inappropriate, obviously, for a teacher to be sending to her students,” Becker said.
At least one photo was then circulated to other students in the school, Becker said.
When the incident was brought to the attention of the school’s principal and the superintendent, Becker said the school’s resource deputy, Montey Chappell, began investigating.
According to files obtained from Franklin County Public Schools, Opell was suspended with pay May 1 from her position as a social studies teacher and girls’ soccer coach at EMS, pending that investigation.
She later resigned.
As a part of the plea agreement, Opell will surrender her teaching certification.
She will be sentenced in Franklin Circuit Court August 15.
The plea agreement states that prosecutors have agreed to recommend supervised pretrial diversion, meaning Opell would essentially be on probation, but could have the felony charge expunged after completing her sentence.