Jury claims deadlock in teacher sex case

February 9, 2009 3:35:36 PM PST
A former Spring ISD teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student could learn her fate at any time. A Harris County jury started deliberating the fate of Shannon Hrozek around 1pm Monday. A guilty verdict could send her to prison. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Hrozek had taken the stand to tell the jury face to face her version of what happened. She spent most of the time on the stand explaining that she had passed out and she doesn't remember anything, and that she was in a heavy sleep at the time the alleged assault happened.

Hrozek told the jury she takes at least five different types of medications for anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder. Her attorney, Katherine Scardino, showed the jury the pill bottles. Because she was on medication, Hrozek testified, she passed out and does not remember the alleged sexual encounter with her 16-year-old male student in January 2008 at Westfield High School.

Prosecutors were quick to challenge Hrozek's statement.

"You want the jury to believe there was a student in your classroom and you passed out, and he didn't get help?" asked the prosecutor.

Hrozek answered, "Yes, he stayed."

Hrozek's own attorney asked, "Were you ever on your knees in front of the victim?"

"No," responded Hrozek.

But there is another statement made by Hrozek that prosecutors said can't be explained away. Hrozek admitted to kissing the alleged victim the same afternoon as the alleged crime.

The defense asked, "Did you ever kiss the victim?"

Hrozek answered, "He kissed me. There were a couple of seconds before I stopped."

In closing arguments the defense told the jury, "She made bad judgments but did she have oral sex? No."

Prosecutors showed the jury how they believe the victim pulled up his shorts when they were caught.

"Teachers like this, we don't need in the classroom," the prosecutor said.

"The defense is simply the fact that, first of all, (Hrozek) didn't do it," Scardino explained. "She has always said, 'I did not have oral sex with a student.' She did obviously have some very poor judgment on her part, with regard to conduct with this student."

In four and a half hours of deliberations Monday afternoon, the jury sent the judge two notes saying they were deadlocked. Each time the judge instructed the jury to continue deliberating.

If convicted, Hrozek could face a wide range of punishments, from probation to 20 years in prison.

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