Sentencing hearing moved for former teacher

By kalea hall


The victim of sexual battery by her Boardman High School teacher was not happy Monday morning after the teacher’s sentencing hearing was moved to Dec. 4.

“I’ve been waiting for this forever, so I am extremely upset,” the 22-year-old victim said in the Mahoning County Courthouse.

Joseph Cleghorn, 34, of Boardman, is charged with sexual battery, a felony. In September, Cleghorn pleaded guilty to a bill of information, and his sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 4, but sentencing was continued Monday morning.

“I asked for it because of some legal issues,” said Ron Yarwood, Cleghorn’s defense attorney.

Cleghorn is accused of having a sexual relationship with the victim from 2007 to 2009 while he was an English teacher at Boardman.

The victim went to police in March and told them about the consensual, sexual relationship she had with Cleghorn while she was a student. She was 16 when the relationship became sexual.

The victim said she came forward to report what happened because she wanted to prevent it from happening to another student, according to the police report.

Cleghorn was placed on administrative leave last spring and then resigned from Boardman schools. His teaching license is suspended through September 2014.

Rebecca Doherty, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, said there was no motion for Cleghorn to change his plea. Doherty said Cleghorn could face up to 36 months in prison for the charge. He also will have to register as a sex offender, which means he can’t teach anywhere.

“If he’s a sex offender, he can’t be a teacher,” Doherty said.

Cleghorn’s sentencing will be at 11 a.m. Dec. 4 before Judge D’Apolito in common pleas court.

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