Ex-Rochester High teacher arraigned on sex charges
Rochester Hills — A Rochester High School teacher fired this week for alleged inappropriate activity with two students was charged Friday with six counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Kathryn Houghtaling, 26, of Sterling Heights was arraigned before Rochester Hills 52-3 District Judge Lisa Asadoorian. Houghtaling was a special education teacher for one of the alleged victims.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Friday afternoon that a parent of a student came across a video of a teacher “partying” with students involving alcohol and marijuana and reported it to authorities. When confronted, the teacher admitted having sex with two students, 16 and 17 years old, the sheriff's office said.
Houghtaling’s attorney, Zachary R. Glaza, had requested his client be released to the custody of her husband, parents or friends, with whatever bond conditions Asadoorian considered appropriate. He said Houghtaling posed no flight risk, had no criminal history and no mental health or substance abuse issues.
Glaza entered a not-guilty plea on Houghtaling's behalf.
An Oakland County sheriff’s deputy told Asadoorian that alcohol or drugs were involved in the incidents, one which took place at a student’s home and the other in a vehicle.
“The charges are serious and each carries up to 15 years in prison,” Asadoorian said. “Conviction on any will likely result in prison.”
Asadoorian told Houghtaling because of the seriousness of the charges, she was setting a $200,000 cash bond. Asadoorian also scheduled a Jan. 24 probable cause conference and a Jan. 30 preliminary exam.
If Houghtaling makes bond and is released, Asadoorian set a number of conditions, including no contact with the alleged victims and no use of alcohol or drugs. She also ordered that the ex-teacher submit to random testing and wear an electric tether to insure her activities are limited to court and medical appointments.
“You are banned from the premises of Rochester Public Schools and any public school,” said Asadoorian, who also said Houghtaling could not leave the state.
Houghtaling, who was accompanied to court by two women, made no statement and was handcuffed by deputies and led off to the Oakland County Jail.
Following the court appearance, Glaza declined to comment on the case or his client.
Rochester Community Schools officials did not release details of the incidents other than they happened after school hours. The district said Houghtaling was fired Tuesday after an internal investigation of incidents that allegedly occurred in November and December.
“The safety and welfare of our students and staff is always our primary concern,” Superintendent Robert Shaner said in a statement Thursday. "We are thankful for our partnership with the Rochester Police Department, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, and our security consultants who help us in our efforts to keep our children safe."
“Rochester Community Schools is committed to providing a safe, positive, and supportive learning environment for every student," Shaner said. "District personnel are required to meet the highest standards of personal integrity, professionalism, and performance. Employees whose conduct or performance falls short of expectations will be subject to disciplinary action, or in this case, termination."