A 30-year-old Catholic high school teacher, who also happens to be a married woman, was sentenced on Tuesday to six to 15 years behind bars for having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old student from the Bishop Foley High School where she taught Spanish.
When she was brought into Judge Nanci Grant’s Oakland Courtroom, the accused, Kathryn Ronk from Birmingham, looked clearly upset and distressed as she was hit with five counts of criminal sexual conduct with the minor.
Just before she was sentenced, Ronk told the judge and the court the following statement.
“I’m so sorry for the victim and his family, for the school and the community, my family… and I’m so sorry for my husband. With (psychological) treatment, I’m getting better. I know I have to go away but this is a life-long journey, and I am meeting it…. I’m so sorry for those who I have hurt.”
While the judge’s sentencing guidelines propose 51-85 months for Ronk’s crimes, she could be considered for parole in just over five years time.
Regarding letters sent to judge Grant by Ronk’s relatives and friends, she said, “I have never seen letters of support for a defendant with nothing about the victim. They were all about you and what you were going through. Poor you. To ignore a crime and a victim and an ongoing involvement in school, outside school, in a car. You did something you shouldn’t have done,” she said.
In praising Ronk, Grant added, “You’re really very smart, an intelligent woman.”
However, what seemed to bother Grant most was the double standard in society when it comes to teachers having sex with students.
“If this was a male teacher who had been involved with a 15-year-old female there would be people here hanging from the ceiling trying to get every drop of blood. But because it is a woman, there seems to be a winking about what happened.”
As Grant told Ronk, about the effect she potentially had on her victim’s life, she said, “You don’t know what you did to him, and he may not realize it for years to come. Fifteen is 15. He’s still a boy figuring out the ways in the world.”