Teacher-student sex crimes: Recent convictions in the Houston area

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- These are the stories that raise concern for many parents: Teachers trusted with preparing students for tomorrow accused of sexual misconduct in the classroom.

But as is the case with many teacher sex crime accusations, jail time is not the norm, even as reports of teachers engaging in sex with students are on the rise in Texas.

The Texas Education Agency said it investigated 162 inappropriate teacher-student relationships in the 2016 school year alone. There were 188 investigations in all over the TEA's 2016 fiscal year.

Texas tops the nation in teacher sex cases
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Teachers caught having sex with students rarely see prison time; when prison is the punishment, sentences vary widely, ABC-13 has found

In many of those cases, charges were dropped or sentences were incredibly light, much to the dismay of parents and prosecutors alike.

We took a closer look at some recent stories in which teachers in the Houston area were sentenced.

Nine boys accuse Spanish teacher of molestation
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The victims in a molestation case are devastated by their former HISD teacher's sentence

Parents at Westbury and Sharpstown High Schools were furious back in 2015 when former HISD Spanish teacher Ysidoro Rosales Motola walked away with deferred adjudication, a deal that amounts to probation.

Rosales Motala was accused of molesting young boys, many of whom sat in a Houston courtroom and testified against him one by one.

Nine former students said the Spanish teacher touched their genitals through their clothing, and in one case, he was accused of sticking his hands down a boy's pants.

Parents wanted 15 years. Rosales Motala got probation and was sentenced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Probation for a lap dance in Aldine ISD
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Officials say the middle school teacher gave a 15-year-old boy a lap dance because it was his birthday

A year earlier, an Aldine ISD middle school teacher who pleaded guilty to giving a student a birthday lap dance in class was sentenced to three years probation.

Records show Felicia Smith said her class convinced her to give a 15-year-old boy a provocative dance to celebrate back in 2014.

According to court documents, Smith performed a full-contact lap dance to music for four full minutes, and it was all caught on camera.

Former coach sentenced for repeated sex with minor
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Former Aldine ISD high school coach sentenced to 60 days in jail after improper relationship with a student.

In February 2017, another former Aldine ISD educator was sentenced for having sex with a Nimitz High School student, but this time there was some jail time: 60 days.

Investigators said Eber Lopez and the student had sex repeatedly at a hotel, and that his phone contained sexually-explicit texts between himself and the minor.

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An Aldine ISD coach faced a judge, accused of having sex with a student

Lopez was sentenced to spend two months in jail, and also got eight years probation. Aldine ISD parents said the sentence was too lenient.

Judge makes example of teacher impregnated by 13-year-old
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A former Aldine ISD teacher who was impregnated by a student has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But perhaps the most prominent teacher sex crime case in Houston concluded in January 2017, when former Stoval Middle School teacher Alexandria Vera pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Court documents showed Vera met her 13-year-old lover when she taught him English in summer school. She allegedly told investigators they fell in love, and he had impregnated her during the course of their relationship.

Vera pleaded guilty in November 2016. She was sentenced to a surprising 10 years in prison in January 2017.

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Former teacher pleads guilty to lesser charge of sexually assaulting boy.

Ted Oberg Investigates found that in similar cases from 2008 to 2014, 60 percent of teachers charged only got deferred adjudication, a deal that amounts to probation.

That's even when teachers were found having sex with students ages 16 and younger.

The judge in Vera's court case said her sentence should serve as "a fair warning to teachers." Only time will tell whether her example will have an affect.

RARE INSIGHT: What causes teachers to have sex with students?
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Rare insight from a psychologist on teachers who sleep with students.

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