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Ex-teacher gets 5-year suspended sentence
After entering guilty plea
Thursday, June 6, 2013
By FROM BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
A former Henry County teacher was sentenced Wednesday to five years in jail, all suspended, on his guilty plea of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship.
Luke Sebastian Flora, 30, of 7 Ebb Drive, Bassett, also was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation, ordered to pay $420 in costs, and must register as a sex offender.
Flora pleaded guilty to the single charge during a February hearing 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 female student who was 17 years old at the time, according to previous reports. The former Bassett High School student now is 18.
The original charges were consolidated into one charge that included all of the offense dates — May 12, 20, 24, 25 and June 1 and 3 — that were alleged in the original criminal complaint.
Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Bushnell said outside of court later Wednesday that he was satisfied that Flora’s jail term was suspended.
“It was, in my opinion, an abysmal, absolutely ridiculous lapse of judgment” on Flora’s part, he said. “What he did is he violated a number of trusts, and everything I’ve heard, he was a well-liked ... well-respected teacher. That career is gone — absolutely gone.”
Bushnell noted that Flora was held without bond after his arrest. He called him “a guy who fell pretty far, pretty hard.”
He said Flora is working now, though he was not certain where. But Bushnell said he was “sure it was not a job he would have aspired to the day before he made this decision (to become involved with a student).”
Flora was suspended from his job in the Henry County School System when the initial charges were lodged, and he later resigned from the job he had held since 2005.
In February, Bushnell characterized the relationship as allegedly “sexual intercourse of an abundantly consensual nature.”
Officials have said that none of the alleged incidents occurred on school property.
“If there is a lesson to be learned, I hope teachers in this community understand this is taken seriously. I don’t know if there ever was a time when teachers could do this and there would be a wink and a nod and it was forgotten. But this man’s career is shot,” Bushnell added Wednesday.