Former Central DeWitt teacher Ramsey Hinkle was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation by a school employee, an aggravated misdemeanor.
The sentence was delivered Thursday in a Clinton County Courtroom by Judge Mark Fowler. A jail sentence not to exceed two years was suspended.
The sentence stems from a plea agreement reached in early January that included the dismissal of a class D
felony charge for the same crime.
Hinkle is a former language arts and speech teacher at Central DeWitt High School. According to the Iowa Board of Education Examiners’ website, Hinkle’s teaching license is still intact. However, that will change.
“Generally speaking, sexual exploitation by a school employee is an automatically disqualifying conviction for teacher licensure, and our office generally waits until criminal proceedings are finished before initiating the process of revoking a license,” said Darcy Hathaway, the board’s attorney.
According to court documents, Ramsey and a male high school student at the school were engaged in a relationship that included her sending nude photos through social media. In the plea agreement Hinkle acknowledged she was a school employee at the time, and the male was a 17-year-old student at the school.
Fowler spoke to Hinkle in the courtroom Thursday and said he struggled with the decision before ultimately suspending the jail time. Fowler referenced Hinkle’s clean criminal record as a basis for the decision.
“I know you have no criminal history and you lost a career,” Fowler said. “You lost what was basically your established life, and that will be forever gone. There will be a blemish on your record in history. I also know you’ve taken responsibility and submitted yourself to treatment.”
Fowler also referenced a letter provided by Hinkle’s therapist that vouched for Hinkle. The letter said Hinkle has continued treatment and is not a threat to the general public.
“I am sorry for the actions I did take. I understand I did lose the trust I had as a teacher,” Hinkle said at Thursday’s sentencing. “I lost the respect of a community that I was a part of, and I lost who I was along the way … I have been working hard with my counselor. I do not believe I am a risk to the general population. I am taking responsibility for what I’ve done. But I want to continue to be a better person and move on.”
Hinkle is required to maintain a place on Iowa’s sex offender registry as a tier II offender, which is for mid-level convicts who engage in sexual activity with victims younger than 18 year of age.
She is also required to complete a sex offender treatment program and fulfill all requirements and obligations with that treatment. That program costs $1,500, which is her responsibility to pay.
The sentence also requires her to maintain employment. A no-contact order was also implemented between Hinkle and the victim.