Teacher Shows Raunchy Film, Gets Jail Time

Sheila Kearns will appeal conviction of disseminating matter harmful to kids
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2015 8:46 AM CST
Teacher Shows Raunchy Film, Gets Jail Time
Sheila Kearns, right, listens to testimony in Judge Schneider's courtroom with attorney Geoffrey Oglesby on Jan. 13, 2015.   (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Chris Russell)

A tip for teachers: Be sure to watch the movie before you show it to students. As a former Ohio substitute teacher at Columbus' East High School has learned, not doing so could land you in jail. Yesterday, a judge sentenced long-term temp Sheila Kearns to three years of probation, plus 90 days in jail as a condition, after Kearns showed the unrated movie The ABCs of Death to five classes of students when she was asked to fill in for a Spanish teacher in April 2013, the Columbus Dispatch reports. She was fired two months later. Kearns, 58, who doesn't speak Spanish, said she didn't watch the movie beforehand and had her back to the TV all day. What she reportedly missed: grisly deaths, full-frontal nudity, and graphic sex in movie chapters titled "E is for Exterminate" and "O is for Orgasm," reports the AP.

Kearns, who apologized in court, was convicted of four counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles (the students were 14 to 18) in January. A jury cleared her of one count, believing Kearns didn't know the movie's content during the first showing. But a student testified that Kearns did watch the movie, and the jury appeared to side with Judge Charles A. Schneider, who said Kearns' claim that she didn't watch it was "unconscionable. There's no way you'll persuade me that's what happened." He also slammed Columbus public schools. "This is what happens when you put a teacher in a class that she cannot teach," he said. Schneider ordered Kearns to report to jail on April 10, but the sentence will be delayed as Kearns' lawyer appeals her conviction. (Another substitute teacher was fired for asking kids about her love life.)

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