Chesterfield Schools is now recommending a Matoaca High School teacher be fired after being found guilty Friday of having sex with a 14-year-old student. Nicholas Ells will spend four years behind bars after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This was an amended charge.
Prosecutors say the 14 year old female victim would not cooperate in the case, even denying she had sex with her teacher. But investigators said text messages told a different story.
Family and friends, including the defendant's wife, left court in a hurry after sitting in as Matoaca High teacher Nicholas Ells came clean about having sex with one of his teenage students seven different times.
"He has accepted responsibility for his conduct and he's very remorseful," Ell's defense attorney Claire Cardwell said.
She says she worked with prosecutors on charges they felt were most appropriate. He first faced felonies for taking indecent liberties with a child and carnal knowledge - but because the teenager wouldn't cooperate - prosecutors went with misdemeanors instead. A judge sentenced Ells to seven years behind bars, with three suspended.
"On a misdemeanor, generally 50 % of the time is served," Cardwell said.
That means Ells may only serve two years.
Prosecutor Duncan Minton said the outcome was the best they could get with what they had.
"The victim's mother was satisfied and that's an important factor to consider," he added.
The state would not go into detail about why the teenage victim would not cooperate. Since his arrest, Ells has been evaluated by a therapist.
"He will probably undergo some counseling as part of his probation as ruled by the judge," Cardwell added.
A judge told the defendant he breached his position of trust said he's getting a big break.
Minton says this case should send a clear message to the public, if you misuse your position of trust with children, a jail cell awaits.
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