Education

Ex-teacher's assistant sentenced to year for sending girl sexual messages

RICHMOND — Denying a defense request for probation, a Madison County judge sentenced a former teacher's assistant Thursday to one year in prison for sending text messages with a sexual content to a 13-year-old girl.

Brandon Clay Rousey, 23, pleaded guilty in July to a charge of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities.

"There is nobody else to blame for the situation but myself, alone," Rousey said in brief remarks to Madison Circuit Judge William Clouse. "I am extremely sorry and remorseful for what I did."

Clouse noted that some believe a "mere texting case" doesn't warrant punishment, or that "mere words should not give rise to a jail sentence."

But Clouse said Rousey was an adult in a position of respect who sent texts of "inappropriate sexual language" to a child. Clouse said he cannot excuse that conduct, and told Rousey to "stand up and take your punishment."

Rousey was a popular assistant at Madison Middle School in Richmond. He coached basketball and football for a few years before becoming a language-arts teacher's assistant in October 2008. He was an AmeriCorps volunteer through Eastern Kentucky University; AmeriCorps is a domestic version of the Peace Corps that emphasizes community service.

In his request for probation, defense attorney Wesley Browne repeatedly said that the "victim is not to blame." The victim's mother wrote in a letter to the judge that her daughter lost friends and was even ostracized by some at school because they blamed her for Rousey's arrest.

But Browne said, "It is shameful for anyone to place the blame at the feet of this victim and blame the victim."

Furthermore, Rousey "knew his conduct was wrong before he was ever caught," Browne said. "I don't believe Mr. Rousey knew what he was capable of until he did it."

That said, however, Browne argued against putting Rousey behind bars.

"I don't know that jailing Mr. Rousey would do anything additional to keep Mr. Rousey from poor behavior," Browne said.

Browne said Rousey has already sought counseling, but Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jennifer Smith said those sessions dealt with the stress of being charged and the loss of friends, not the root causes that led to the behavior.

Browne countered that Rousey and the counselor have discussed "the behavior that led to this situation."

In a Sept. 16 letter to the judge, the victim's mother pushed for jail time for Rousey so he had "time to reflect on his criminal, sexual, disgusting acts."

"He is the most dangerous predator; he is handsome, well-groomed and popular," the victim's mother wrote. "To look at him you would not suspect him of being a predator. But a predator he is."

Meanwhile, Denise Rousey pleaded for mercy for her son in a Sept. 14 letter to the judge.

"This has been a very difficult situation for all families involved," Denise Rousey said. "Both families need to put this behind them and move forward with their lives. Brandon will forever carry these events with him for the rest of his life."

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