GREENFIELD — A former teacher’s aide convicted of sexual assault will return to the county’s home detention program — rather than prison as prosecutors had hoped — after local court officials realized a mistake in her original sentencing order.
Kisha Nuckols, 40, 854 W. State Road 52, Apartment 4, Fountaintown, appeared in Hancock Circuit Court Thursday to face accusations she violated the terms of her probation. She admitted to Judge Richard Culver she drank alcohol, but she won’t serve any additional jail time after her attorney reached a deal with prosecutors.
Nuckols never signed a document formally agreeing to follow the term’s of the county’s probation, officials said.
Therefore, she didn’t knowingly violate her probation as she’d been accused of doing, officials said.
Nuckols, who had worked as a teacher’s aide in the Mt. Vernon school district, pleaded guilty to child seduction last year after being caught having sexual relationships with several Mt. Vernon High School students. She was ordered to spend two years in a home detention program offered by Hancock County Community Corrections plus two years on probation.
Nuckols was re-arrested in July after prosecutors and probation officers accused her of violating that sentence.
They said a team of investigators visited Nuckols’ apartment and found bottles of alcohol and cellphones that contained nude photos of Nuckols, court documents state. She also had social media accounts they said she’d been ordered not to use, according to court documents.
Writing Nuckols’ actions “present a clear risk to the community,” they recommended the woman serve the remainder of her sentence in prison if found guilty of the violation, court documents state.
Culver told Nuckols in court Thursday that he’d originally intended for her to serve her time on home detention and on probation simultaneously, meaning she needed to be following all rules put forth by both programs.
But in preparing for Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors and Nuckols’ defense attorney, Jim McNew, realized the defendant never signed a document agreeing to follow the rules probation outlines for the sex offenders its officers monitor, officials said.
So, Nuckols couldn’t have known she was in violation of her probation — or at least, no one can prove it, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
All those on sex-offender probation — a monitoring program specifically designed for people convicted of sex crimes — are barred from using alcohol and drugs or possessing any form of pornography, officials said. They’re also not allowed to use the internet in any form, and they must register all social media accounts with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.
When prosecutors and probation officers last month accused Nuckols of violating her probation and asked that a warrant be issued for her arrest, they did so assuming the woman was intentionally going against the judge’s orders, Eaton said. But there is no signed document on file showing that Nuckols was advised of probation’s rules, he said.
Nuckols did admit Thursday that she’d knowingly drank alcohol in violation of the home detention sentence. She agreed to spend 30 days in the Hancock County Jail as punishment — time she’s already served since her arrest July 7 — and return to community corrections once a spot in the facility becomes available.
Calling the incident “a complication,” Culver told Nuckols, going forward, he expects her to follow all rules outlined by community corrections and probation.
He’d intended for officers in both county programs to monitor her because she “needed extra supervision,” Culver said.
“You need help. I want you to get help,” he said in court.