The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 10, 2013

Counselor in student sex scandal pleads guilty in deal

NEVADA, Mo. — A former Bronaugh High School counselor accused of having sexual relations with students pleaded guilty Friday to two misdemeanor counts of assault in a plea deal requiring her to surrender her state teaching certificate.

Lori A. Layher, 37, of Moundville, pleaded guilty to the reduced charges at a hearing in Vernon County Circuit Court in Nevada and received suspended sentences.

Layher had been charged with single counts of statutory rape and statutory sodomy and four counts of sexual contact with a student by a school employee. The counts stemmed from alleged sexual contact with two boys under the age of 17 between Dec. 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010, both on and off school grounds.

The defendant was facing the prospect of up to seven years in prison if convicted of either of the statutory offenses and up to five years on each of the other four counts.

Julie Tolle, the assistant attorney general prosecuting the case, told Circuit Judge James Bickel that the plea agreement had been struck with the concurrence of the two male victims in the case, both of whom are now of age with one currently serving in the military.

Tolle said the state was recommending that Layher receive one-year suspended jail terms on each of the assault counts and two years of supervised probation, with a special condition that she surrender her certificate to teach in Missouri. The prosecutor said the defendant also would be waiving her right to appeal the revocation of her certificate and agreeing to “never teach again.”

The judge imposed one-year terms with suspended execution of the sentences and placed Layher on just one year of supervised probation.

The misdemeanor assault convictions pertain to the slamming of a car door on one of the victims and the grabbing of the other by his arm and forcibly removing him from her office at the high school.

The defendant was accused of much more serious offenses in a probable-cause affidavit filed with the original charges in November 2011 following a long investigation by the Vernon County sheriff’s office.

One of the students told an investigator that Layher asked for his cellphone number in late 2009 and he received a text message asking him to meet her at Bushwhacker Lake. The rendezvous allegedly led to sex in a parking lot at the lake. He told the investigator that on another occasion she invited him over to her house and engaged in both oral and conventional sex with him. The same student alleged that she engaged in oral sex with him multiple times in her office at the high school.

The other student claimed similar sexual trysts at the lake and at her home.

Recusal

The attorney general’s office assumed prosecution of Lori Layher after the recusal of the Vernon County prosecutor’s office because of a potential conflict of interest related to the local probation office’s employment of a family member of the suspect.

 

1
Text Only
Crime & Courts
  • Neosho man hurt in scooter accident north of Goodman

    A Neosho man was injured in a scooter accident at 3:40 p.m. Friday on Missouri Highway 59, two miles north of Goodman in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    April 18, 2014

  • Joplin police seize pound of meth after traffic stop

    Joplin police seized about a pound of methamphetamine and $2,000 cash in a traffic stop Thursday at 17th Street and Maiden Lane.

    April 18, 2014

  • Two-year-old boy, stepfather suffer gas-fire burns

    ARMA, Kan. — A 2-year-old boy and his stepfather suffered burns Friday afternoon when a plastic gasoline container left near a fire pit ignited, according to the Arma Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Court date set for defendant in stabbing case

    GIRARD, Kan. — A suspect is being held at the Crawford County Jail on a charge of attempted murder in the stabbing of another man Wednesday afternoon in Girard.

    April 18, 2014

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    A family whose teenage daughter’s suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jeffery Bruner.JPG Defendant denied change of venue in MSSU coach slaying

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a motion for a change of venue for Jeffrey Bruner, the defendant charged with killing Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach Derek Moore.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reeds man granted probation in case involving gunshots

    A Jasper County judge has granted suspended sentences to a rural Reeds man who tore up a campsite with his truck in a drunken rage and fired a gun at another driver and a sheriff’s deputy.

    April 17, 2014

  • Joplin man faces burglary charge after incident

    A 31-year-old man is facing a burglary charge following an incident Wednesday afternoon at a business near downtown Joplin.

    April 17, 2014

Local News
Sports
Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case