A former Arapahoe High School drama teacher was sentenced Friday to 5 years in prison for sexually assaulting one of his students.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Michael Spear sentenced Ian Ahern for the sex assault on a 17-year-old student that took place in 2014 but was not reported until 2019.
Ahern pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, both Class 3 felonies. Other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement, which kept the victim from having to testify at trial.
“This predator posing as a teacher took advantage of a vulnerable student. He abused his position, he abused her trust and he shattered her life,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “In addition, what he did negatively impacted his colleagues, the school and the community. We just get to sentence him for what he did to his victim, and for that alone, he deserves to go to prison. Well after he serves time in prison, the aftermath of his conduct will continue to haunt those most directly impacted by it.”
In early 2019, the victim told a friend, who reported the assault via Safe2Tell.
The victim told investigators that after the murder of student Claire Davis, she sought support from Ahern. He in turn touched her inappropriately and tried to have a romantic relationship with the vulnerable student. The repeated sex assaults left the victim devastated.
“I am the victim he chose to sexually assault for months. I struggled tremendously after the shooting, and he took advantage and manipulated me,” the victim told the judge in a statement read to the court. “I kept the burden of his secret for five years … But I could no longer allow other potential victims to interact with him. Now he can carry the burden of his actions.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Danielle Jaramillo prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Lisa Gramer.
“The position this defendant held is one of the most trusted in our community,” Jaramillo said in her sentencing argument. “Parents assume when they send their children to school that they will be safe. This defendant completely abused that trust. What he did affects the entire community and he deserves to be punished.”
Spear sentenced Ahern to five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on each count, to be served concurrently, followed by five years of parole. Ahern must register as a sex offender.