Cuyahoga County

Euclid High School counselor sentenced for sexual relations with student

9/22/2016


The text message read "May" followed by a skull emoji.

May of this year is when it would have been legally permissible for 36-year-old Ronetta Smith, then a counselor at Euclid High School, to have sex with the 18-year-old boy she was flirting with via text. They didn't wait that long.

On Thursday, Smith was sentenced to a year in state prison. She will be required to register as a sex offender and report to authorities every 90 days for the rest of her life. She will never work in a high school again.

Prosecutors used the message in court, interpreted as "May is dead," in an attempt to show Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Brian J. Corrigan that Smith knew the gravity of what she was doing.

The 18-year-old student, they argued, did not.

When the school found out, he hid, skipped out on class and stayed at home. He had been prepared to graduate this May, but never walked across the stage to get his diploma.

Smith was suspended Jan. 29, when the school got an anonymous tip.

That message was one of hundreds Smith sent the boy, prosecutors said. Among them were references to sex, in school classrooms, her office, even the boy's house after prom.

When police investigators discovered the messages in March of this year, Smith was charged with four felony counts of sexual battery and tampering with evidence. She pleaded guilty in August to sexual battery.

Smith's attorney, Rufus Sims, asked the judge Thursday to consider a probation sentence for the disgraced counselor who has no prior criminal history, a masters degree and a 16-year-old daughter at home.

There was little explanation for the affair, though. It was a mistake, poor judgement, negligence, Smith said.

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