Teacher convicted of having sex with students



ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)—A former high school teacher was convicted Wednesday of sexually abusing three of his students, who testified that they willingly engaged in sex with him throughout the school grounds.

Before the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury found 48-year-old Ronald Price guilty on seven counts of sexual abuse, he admitted he had sex with two students.

‘‘The jury made their decision,’‘ Price said following the verdict. ‘‘It doesn’t pay to tell the truth.’‘

Judge Eugene Lerner revoked Price’s house arrest and ordered that he be taken into custody. A sentencing hearing was set for Oct. 22. Price, who taught at Northeast High School in Pasadena, a Baltimore suburb, could be sentenced to 76 years in prison.

‘‘I think it’s perfectly clear I will be asking for a long period of incarceration,’‘ said prosecutor William Mulford.

The trial began Tuesday with graphic testimony from three former students who said Price had sex with them as often as seven times a week.

The students, one of whom said she had just turned 15 when she first had sex with Price, testified about performing sex acts on a catwalk above the auditorium, in the football stadium press box, in classrooms, storage rooms, the library, dressing rooms and a hallway.

Price, a social studies teacher who also served as a drama club adviser and girls softball coach, resigned shortly after his indictment in May. The case attracted national attention after he appeared on several tabloid-style television shows, saying he had sex with seven students over the last 20 years.

Price’s 25-year-old wife, Patricia, gripped the back of the courtroom bench, shaking with anger as the verdicts were read. Her face contorted with rage, she mouthed an obscenity at the three victims as they left the courtroom.

Mrs. Price, who married Price two years ago, had an affair with Price while she was in high school.

Testifying in his defense Wednesday, she said she doesn’t consider herself a victim. ‘‘I was 17 years old. I knew what I was doing,’‘ she said.

The three former students sobbed, laughed and murmured ‘‘yes’‘ as the foreman read the verdicts.

Neither Price nor his lawyer contested the three counts of unnatural and perverted sex practices and one count of fourth-degree sex offense with a child under age 16.

Testifying Wednesday, Price admitted he had sex with two students, but denied allegations by a third woman that they had an affair while he was her drama club adviser.

When asked if he thought it was wrong for a teacher to have sex with students, Price replied: ‘‘I do now.’‘

Timothy Umbreit, Price’s lawyer, said the convictions will be appealed.

All of the former students said they loved Price at the time and willingly engaged in sex with him, but Mulford said during his closing arguments that consent ‘‘is just not a defense.’‘

Mulford said he hopes the trial will make it clear that teachers shouldn’t have sex with students. ‘‘Teachers are in a special position,’‘ he said. ‘‘We trust our children to them.’‘

Since Price’s arrest in April, two other Northeast teachers have been charged in unrelated cases with sexual abuse of students.