A former Kanawha County middle school teacher who admitted to sending nude photos to a 14-year-old former student was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday.
Ramsey Bearse pleaded guilty to one count of possession of material depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct in December 2019.
Bearse was a teacher at Andrew Jackson Middle School, in Cross Lanes, when she was arrested on Dec. 7, 2018.
She was charged by investigators after a parent of the male student found lewd pictures of Bearse on the teen’s phone.
Bearse, who was crowned Miss Kentucky in 2014 in the Miss America pageant, was sentenced to an additional 10 years of supervised release, Kanawha Assistant Prosecutor Meshell Jarrett said Tuesday. Bearse must also register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom handed down the maximum prison sentence allowed under Bearse’s plea deal; but she avoided a maximum of 50 years supervised release.
Bearse must report to prison by 10 a.m. Monday, Jarrett said.
She was initially charged with four counts of the distribution and display to a minor of obscene matter. Bearse admitted to investigators to sending the former student at least four photographs of her “nude breast/chest area” through Snapchat, a photo messaging phone app, from around August 2018 to October 2018, according to the criminal complaint.
As she pleaded guilty before Bloom in 2019, Bearse said the sexual photo exchange began when she accidentally sent the student a “risque photo” she said was meant for her husband.
“From there, [the student] asked me for more, and I panicked,” Bearse said then. “I was afraid to not appease him, and when he asked for more, I sent him more photos of me, which led to him sending a photo of his privates.”
Bearse complimented the student “in a way that made it look like I did want them, because, again, I was afraid to not appease him.”
“Since I am the adult, and he was just a teenager, it is my fault, and I accept full blame for the situation,” Bearse said. “So that’s how I’m guilty of this crime. I messed up big-time.”