Ex-teacher may avoid prison in Grand Coulee Dam child rape - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ex-teacher may avoid prison in Grand Coulee Dam child rape

Associated Press - May 17, 2008 2:25 PM ET

OKANOGAN, Wash. (AP) - A former Grand Coulee Dam Middle School teacher and reserve police officer who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 15-year-old student has been spared a prison term - at least for now.

Vernon E. Heizer, 51, of Nespelem, was sentenced Friday in Okanogan County Superior Court to two years and 10 months, but a judge suspended all but the nine months he already has spent in jail.

Heizer can stay out of prison by successfully completing three to four years of outpatient sex offender treatment and meeting other conditions. He is barred from any contact with other minors and being within 100 yards of the home, school or workplace of the girl involved in the case.

The girl's family agreed to the sentence so she wouldn't have to testify in court, Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Richardson said.

Heizer pleaded guilty in March to rape of a child and child molestation and apologized to the girl and her family in a court statement.

According to an investigative report filed with the charges, he met the girl when she was in his sixth grade class, gave her a cellular telephone, initiated a friendship and began having sex with her when she was 14.

The relationship continued for about eight months until Heizer was arrested at his home in July after his wife found a cell phone and reported her suspicions to authorities.

Heizer, who had been teaching in Grand Coulee since 1998 and was a Grand Coulee Dam reserve police officer, resigned from teaching in October after negotiating a $15,000 settlement with the school district to buy out the remainder of his contract. He was dismissed as a reserve police officer.

Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenworld.com

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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