Former Nc'town teacher convicted

Rick StillionSpecial to The News Published:

NEW PHILADELPHIA -- A Newcomerstown teacher accused of engaging in sexual acts with a high school student and providing other students with beer and cigarettes has been convicted of a felony and a misdemeanor offense after entering negotiated "no contest" pleas Monday in the Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court.

Jodi A. Kellish, 38, Dover, was convicted by Judge Elizabeth Thomakos after entering the pleas to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a first-degree misdemeanor, to avoid a trial scheduled to start today in the same court.

Guernsey County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel G. Padden served as special prosecutor for the case.

According to Padden, Kellish is expected to be sentenced in the next two months. A pre-sentenced investigation report was ordered by the court.

Kellish was indicted by a Tuscarawas County grand jury on three counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, first-degree misdemeanors. The third-degree felonies and the second misdemeanor offense will be dismissed at the sentencing hearing.

Officials alleged Kellish engaged in a sexual relationship with a Newcomerstown High School student.

The misdemeanor charges stem from allegations that Kellish provided students with or allowed them to use cigarettes and alcohol at her home and elsewhere, including school grounds. Four students, all juveniles at the time of the alleged offenses, were listed as victims.

If convicted on all the offenses returned by the grand jury, Kellish faced more than 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. As a result of the negotiated plea, she faces a maximum of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Kellish is subject to a Tier II sexual offender classification requiring her to report to the sheriff's office where she lives twice a year for the next 25 years.

Kellish previously served as a third-grade teacher at West Elementary School in Newcomerstown. She has since resigned from the Newcomerstown Local School District.

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