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Ex-teacher pleads guilty to charge
Of taking indecent liberties with a child
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A former Bassett High School teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship.
Luke Sebastan Flora, 30, of 7 Ebb Drive, Bassett, entered the plea in Henry County Circuit Court.
He was charged in August with six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a then-17-year-old female student, according to previous reports.
Before the plea was entered, Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell explained that the original six charges would be “telescoped” or consolidated into one charge. It includes all of the offense dates — May 12, 20, 24, 25 and June 1 and 3 — that were alleged in a criminal complaint.
The five remaining charges were not prosecuted, Bushnell said.
As a result of the plea to the felony charge, Bushnell also noted that Flora will be required to register as a sex offender on the state’s registry.
Flora was suspended from his job in the Henry County School System when the initial charges were lodged. He later resigned from the job he had held since 2005.
The victim was not identified in court. Bushnell said the girl was a 17-year-old Bassett High School student at the time of the incidents. She turned 18 in November, he added.
“She had been a student of the defendant who was a well-respected teacher of Spanish,” Bushnell said during his summary of the case Tuesday.
Bushnell said the girl characterized her initial relationship with Flora as “innocently flirtatious, but no big deal.”
The girl attended the prom on May 11 with a person “that was more of a companion than a boyfriend,” and the two went their separate ways, Bushnell said. There, the girl and Flora “flirted heavily.”
“As the night went on, he gave her his phone number and said if she wanted to get together, his wife was out of town” with their newborn, Bushnell said.
Flora and the student began exchanging calls and messages on May 12. Later that day in Flora’s Henry County home, the two allegedly “became involved in sexual intercourse of an abundantly consensual nature,” Bushnell said.
He added that the two allegedly had “several more trysts,” all of which allegedly were “abundantly consensual,” in May and early June.
Officials have said that none of the alleged incidents occurred on school property.
In mid-June, Flora left Henry County to chaperone a group of youngsters on a trip to Europe, and while he was gone, the girl began thinking about the relationship and decided it “was not a real good” thing for anyone, Bushnell said.
After Flora returned from the trip, he and the student attended a concert in Charlotte, N.C., and “she let him know that was the end of it,” Bushnell said. But, Flora allegedly “didn’t want to give it up” and continued to call and text the girl, Bushnell said.
In mid-August, the girl was talking to Flora on the phone “in not hushed tones,” and her mother overheard the conversation and asked “which boyfriend are you breaking up with,” Bushnell said. Upon learning the boyfriend was a teacher, the mother was “taken aback” and contacted authorities, the prosecutor added.
The mother recorded a statement from Flora, and after police began working the case, the mother wore a wire to obtain more information, Bushnell said. The girl also had kept records of the dates she and Flora were together, Bushnell added.
Flora will be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum penalty of five years, according to Bushnell.
Ironically, Bushnell said that Flora told the girl in a note that he was “‘willing to risk everything I’ve obtained in the last decade for you.’”
“Unfortunately,” Bushnell said, “that’s what he” did.