Former theater teacher at Hancock Co. High sentenced for having sex with female student

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BAY ST. LOUIS, Mississippi — A former theater teacher at Hancock County High has been sentenced to prison for 20 years for having sex with a female student.

The Sun Herald reports ( ) Circuit Judge John Gargiulo sentenced Hiram Jay Coker, 41, on Monday, and ordered him to serve the full prison term without eligibility for early release. He also ordered Coker to register as a sex offender the rest of his life once he gets out of prison.

Coker, who moved to Slidell, Louisiana, was sentenced on two counts of sexual battery.

The girl reported the sexual activity to the Hancock High principal, who notified the Hancock County Sheriff's Office in April 2013, Assistant District Attorney Chris Daniel said.

The girl reported the sex took place at school and on a school drama trip to Harrison County.

Coker taught at the school for 14 years. He was a longtime performer and director of community theater productions, and taught students who won state theatrical awards.

Coker apologized Monday to the girl, her family, his other students and his two sons.

"It was my fault and that is why I am here," he said.

Information from: The Sun Herald,

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