Teacher’s aide sentenced in sexual assault case

GREENFIELD — A former Mt. Vernon Schools teacher’s aide accused of having sexual relationships with several of the district’s students cried softly in a quiet courtroom Monday as she told a judge she’s sorry.

Speaking for the first time publicly about the allegations against her, Kisha Nuckols, 38, 321 E. Delaware St., said she takes responsibility for her actions and apologized for the pain she caused her loved ones and the shame she brought upon the schools district she loved so much.

Nuckols pleaded guilty in Hancock Circuit Court on Monday to one count of child seduction as a Level 5 felony, which requires she register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

Nuckols, who had worked as a teacher’s aide at Mt. Vernon Middle School, was arrested in July after two Mt. Vernon High School students came forward to report they had met the woman for sex on separate occasions away from school grounds, charging documents state.

Nuckols was arrested in July and charged with a series of sexual assault-related charges, she accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors in September.

The agreement Nuckols accepted from prosecutors called for her to serve a four-year sentence with no more than two years of that time being spent in a correctional facility, whether that be prison, jail or a community corrections program. The agreement allowed Judge Richard Culver to make the final determination of where she’d serve her punishment.

After hearing from Nuckols’ defense attorney, psychologist and a local probation officer, all of whom believed Nuckols is not likely to re-offend, Culver decided the Fortville mother would divide her time between punishment and treatment.

Nuckols will spend two years in Hancock County Community Corrections; officials there will decide in the coming days whether she will be placed in a work-release or home-detention program, the Culver decided.

That period will be followed by a two-year stint on probation, where she will be required to meet weekly with an officer who specializes in monitoring and counseling sex offenders, Culver ordered.

Nuckols also will be required to attend individual and group counseling with a psychologist she began seeing when the criminal allegations were first filed. Should she miss any of those sessions or the meetings with the probation officer, Nuckols will be sent to prison for the duration of her sentence, the judge said.

Nuckols was working as a teacher’s aide at Mt. Vernon Middle School when the allegations arose. She was formerly a substitute teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, officials said. She was fired after her arrest, school officials said.

One victim told police he met Nuckols for sex at least 10 times since last fall. Another victim said he met Nuckols once in January in a neighborhood near her home, and they engaged in sex acts in his car, court records state.

Nuckols’ attorney, Jim McNew of Greenfield, told the judge his client began seeing a psychologist shortly after the allegations came to light. The counseling has helped her, McNew said, and he worried too much time behind bars would impede with the progress she has made.

McNew called Nuckols’ doctor to the stand Monday to testify.

Dr. Michael Johnson told the judge Nuckols didn’t immediately realize she was victimizing the two teen boys she’s admitted to having relationships with, believing the actions were consensual. With the help of one-on-one counseling and peer support groups, Nuckols came to realize she had harmed the young men and began to express deep remorse for her actions.

Nuckols originally faced two Level 5 felony counts and one Level 6 felony count of child seduction along with one Level 6 felony count of dissemination of matters harmful to minors.

She admitted Monday to one of the Level 5 felony counts of child seduction; the remaining charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.