Former teacher pleads guilty to sex with student

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (WQAD)—Former teacher and coach Jason VanHoutte arrived at the Rock Island County Justice Center Monday as an accused sex offender, and left a convicted one.

The 38-year-old plead guilty to three counts of criminal sexual abuse for sleeping with a then-15 year old student from his history class.

In exchange for his plea, VanHoutte was sentenced to 12 years in prison. In real time, he’ll have to serve 10.

VanHoutte’s trial was scheduled to start next Monday.

VanHoutte admitted he began having sex with the girl in June of last year at his house in Moline. The now 16 year old attended today’s hearing with her mother and a friend.

The relationship came to light after the girl’s brother found sexual text messages on her phone from her teacher, and called police.

VanHoutte later confessed in a police interview.

He had been employed at United Township High School for 15 years, and also served as head football coach at Orion High School.

”You really made a mess of your life”, said Judge Mike Meersman. Required to serve 85 percent of the 12 year sentence, VanHoutte will be 48 years old when he’s released from prison.

”You will have to register as a sex offender, likely for the rest of your life”, Meersman told VanHoutte, who declined any comment at the courthouse.

VanHoutte was allowed to remain out on bond until July 1st, when he is required to turn himself in. ”I want you to turn your passport in to the East Moline police department tomorrow morning”, Meersman said.

Prosecutor Jeff Terronez called the 12 year sentence, ”a significant penalty”, and said he discussed the terms of the plea deal with the victim and her mother on Friday.

”I think it will hit home when he turns himself in,” Terronez said. ”I do believe he understood what he did was wrong”.

When asked about other potential victims, Terronez said ”I’m not going to comment on that right now”’.

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