Teacher guilty of sending explicit texts to student

Surrendering teaching certificate is part of her plea agreement

By Kristina Belcher, Published:

A former teacher at Elkhorn Middle School is now a convicted felon after she sent what prosecutors called “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.

As a part of the plea agreement, Opell will surrender her teaching certification.

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 the minor was a student taught by Opell, 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 later 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.

She will be sentenced in Franklin Circuit Court Aug. 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.

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  • capitalcitizen, June 27, 2014 9:59AM

    "All of you with the nitwit comments about whether the student was possibly old enough to "consent" or whether the teacher was "hot"  - think about the teacher and student not as a woman and a teenage boy, but think of it as an older man with a female student." 

    But that is not what this was...it was a young man and an older but still quite young woman...big difference!  I know lots of teenage boys would have given their right testicle to have been with that young HOT woman.  That is just the way it is...

    I understand that this is a double standard, but there are lots of double standards when it comes to young men and women.

    Well, is Ms. Belcher's writing salacious or not?  And how do you know that I am not just making fun of her with these comments?  You don't know me at all...so why do you think you can determine my motives, picking nits or anything else...you really don't read so good?

    There was middle school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau who served two terms in prison for her sexual relationship with a student that started when he was 12. Letourneau continued contacting the boy and gave birth to a daughter by him during probation. Letourneau and her former student (now an adult) are married with two children.

    Such cases sometimes have other bizarre consequences. For example, a woman who contends she was raped by an underage male may find herself charged with statutory rape. And, underage male victims may also (although infrequently) face legal repercussions.

    A California court required a 15-year-old male victim of statutory rape by a 34-year-old woman to pay child support for an infant conceived during their sexual relationship. The underage male testified that he had discussed an on-going relationship with the woman and that the sex with her was “mutually agreeable.” 

    Romeo and Juliet laws, which have been enacted in several (though not all) states, provide a defense to a person charged with statutory rape who is less than a specified number of years older than the victim.

  • All of you with the nitwit comments about whether the student was possibly old enough to "consent" or whether the teacher was "hot"  - think about the teacher and student not as a woman and a teenage boy, but think of it as an older man with a female student.  If this was your child, would you want this predator/pedophile preying upon your child?

    You all seem to be so darn thick-headed that you do not see that a teacher is in a position of authority and to take advantage of that position and prey upon a middle school age child for illicit purposes, that's a crime.

    You all really show your nitwit, redneck and gutter mentality when you start talking about the teacher being hot.  Don't mention Ms. Belcher's writing being salacious - you all commenting are the ones with the sick minds.

  • The local middle schools end at the 8th grade, so I don't know why you think these were 9th graders. "That" came from actually reading the caption for the photo:
    "This photo of former Elkhorn Middle School teacher Andrea Opell was posted on her Facebook profile in July 2013. Her profile has since been deleted. This photo is not known to be related to the investigation. Photo submitted"

  • I may be wrong, but it is not unreasonable for a 9th grader to be 14 or 15 if he has been held back for any reason.  And besides, how do you know so much more than Kristina?  Facebook page? Where did that come from?  And how can you assume that the photos "sent were considerably more explicit than the example given above"?  You obviously have a lot better fantasies than Kristina and I? 

  • BrunoUno can assume the students are 15-16 year old boys, but he would very likely be wrong. They would have been 14 at the oldest. I also think it is very likely the pictures sent were considerably more explicit than the example given above. The picture above was from her Facebook page at some point, not the examples sent.

  • And good job to Deputy Montey Chappell for cracking this case wide open...I guess that not all of his job is sheer drudgery!  This one was probably kind of fun.

  • Um, braggart...and coincidence...sorry Miss Opell...are you going to spank me for spelling errors? Please...

  • I think that SMH is shaking their head because of the tawdry and salacious manner in which this story was told...you know, typical Kristina Belcher kinda stuff.  And now we are seeing the "explicit photos of herself" that apparently was sent around the school by the middle school student.  Really!! Are you kidding me Kristina?  REALLY?  This is news?

    Nobody is defending this teacher for showing extremely bad judgement in developing anything more than a strictly professional teacher/student relationship with a middle school student, which we can assume was a 15-16 year old boy.  Given while some 15 year old boys are quite (sexually) mature looking, they are all immature bragarts and blabbermouths who usually can't wait to tell their buds all about Miss Jean Hotpants showing them "special attention" to high fives all around!  Not that there aren't plenty of men who never seem to grow out of this emotionally immature stage regardless of their age!  

    However, the selfie above is not all that explicit although it is inappropriate when sent to a student.

    I am not sure what goes through these women's heads (or hearts) when they develop such inappropriate relationships with students...haven't they read the news where usually always the scenario is the same?  Boy loves teacher, teacher responds, boy brags to all of his friends, resource deputy investigates, teacher gets fired, teacher is felon, boy and teacher gets married after boy turns 18.  And is it just a cooincidence or is the teacher involved always, er ah, hot?

  • 33908: SMH...Really? Did SJ hire an editor from TMZ?

    How so? What did an editor do to this story? If you're complaining about how the story was written, perhaps you take exception with the writer. If you're complaining that teachers are sending inappropriate texts to students, what does the SJ have to do with that? Would you prefer wearing blinders, hoping that crimes like this are dealt with quietly in hushed, back-room meetings, or even swept downstream altogether?

  • SMH...Really? Did SJ hire an editor from TMZ?