A former Patrick Henry High School science teacher was sentenced to serve two years in prison on Friday on an indecent liberties conviction involving a student.
Miranda Nicole Pauley, 35, of Hanover County, pleaded guilty in October to four counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor while serving in a custodial role. Pauley also pleaded guilty to a charge of using a communications system to solicit a minor. The former teacher’s pleas were part of a deal with prosecutors under which she would serve two years in prison.
Judge Herbert C. Gill Jr., a substitute judge in Hanover Circuit Court, formally accepted the plea agreement at a brief court hearing on Friday.
Gill sentenced Pauley to serve five years behind bars on one of the indecent liberties charges but suspended three years of that sentence, leaving the two-year active term. Gill sentenced Pauley to 20 years on the remaining four charges but suspended all 20 years for those remaining charges.
“This is a most difficult case,” the judge said before issuing the sentence.
James C. Driggs, Pauley’s defense attorney, provided the court with a half-dozen letters of support for the defendant from family members and others who wrote that Pauley has taken responsibility for what happened and has shown remorse.
Elisabeth Linka, a Hanover prosecutor, said at an October court hearing that on May 30, 2018, another teacher at the school reported to the principal that she had concerns about Pauley’s interactions with a student. The minor subsequently told a Hanover County Sheriff’s investigator that he had a sexual relationship with Pauley, Linka said.
Linka said Pauley had a sexual encounter with the student in a teacher workroom at the school. The prosecutor also said the defendant sent a nude photo of herself to the minor. The case involved incidents that happened from November 2017 until May 30, 2018.
Pauley was employed as a Hanover teacher from 2006 until May 31, 2018, when she was arrested and charged with five felony counts. Before that, she served as a substitute teacher from 2003 to 2005, according to school district officials.
The agreement that Gill accepted requires Pauley to register as a sex offender. The defendant is barred from having any contact with the minor, and she is also barred from the Patrick Henry High School campus.