“We know the reality that we fell through a crack in the law,” the girl’s father, Jeffrey Collins told the Paducah Sun.
BENTON, Ky. - The Friday sentencing of Michael Colvett, the former Marshall County High School band director convicted in connection with having sex with a
student, concluded eight months of widespread publicity that drew statewide attention and sparked legislative reforms.
State police learned of Colvett’s relationship with a female student last October, when she was 16. Her father had discovered text messages and logs of late-night phone calls between them when he took her cell phone away as a punishment, police said. Because 16 is the legal age of sexual consent in Kentucky, police could charge him only with unlawful transaction with a minor, saying that he encouraged the girl to disobey her parents by seeing him outside of school.
Further investigation revealed the relationship began when the girl was 15, and police charged Colvett in December with felony counts of third-degree rape and tampering with evidence as well as associated misdemeanors.
An Associated Press investigation conducted after Colvett was charged revealed that 95 Kentucky teachers lost their certifications because of sexual misconduct between 2001 and 2005. Eighty percent of the cases involved students. Charges ranged from inappropriate comments to rape and sodomy.
In April, Colvett entered an Alford plea to two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of tampering with evidence. In an Alford plea, a person does not admit guilt, but admits enough evidence exists to convict him. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a third-degree rape charge.
Colvett’s attorneys, Mark Bryant and Emily Roark, asked to delay the sentencing until this week so Colvett would have time to sell his house. He had to move because of restrictions on where sex offenders live. He lived across the street from Star Academy, a program in which high school dropouts can earn their diploma.
Also in April, Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a bill making it illegal for teachers, clergy and other authority figures to have sexual contact with anyone under 18.
Previously 16 was Kentucky’s age of sexual consent in all cases, even when alleged sexual contact existed between a student and teacher.
The law goes into effect July 1.