Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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June 19, 2007
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Elizabeth High School teacher admits having sex with student

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. " A 33-year-old former Elizabeth High School teacher admitted Tuesday to having sex with one of the school's 17-year-old football players while the team was in Glenwood Springs last November.

Darcie Esson pleaded guilty to one felony count of sexual assault on a child age 15 to 17 by a person in a position of trust. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop two charges " one identical charge and one charge of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust with a pattern of abuse.

Esson's attorney, Pamela Mackey, put her arm around Esson's shoulders shortly after the words "indeterminate life sentence" were mentioned.

Possible prison sentences could range from probation to an indeterminate life sentence, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch.

"I don't have any discretion in the matter," Judge Denise Lynch said of the possible maximum. "It's an indeterminate life sentence without the possibility of parole."

Fitch said 9th Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson asked her to put a factual basis for the plea on the record even though Mackey agreed to waive it.

Mackey objected, saying at one point, "This has nothing to do with the elements of the crime. There's press in the room. This is just grandstanding."

Lynch agreed to strike a couple of the graphic details from the record. Fitch also submitted an order for HIV testing, which she said is required in the case.

According to an arrest affidavit, Esson stayed in Glenwood Springs over the weekend of Nov. 11, 2006, when the Elizabeth school's team lost a playoff game at Rifle High School. The affidavit says she had nothing to do with the playoff trip but merely wanted "to go along."

Authorities found out about the incident after the student bragged about having sex with her and another student informed school officials. The victim at first denied allegations but later admitted them. The teenager's mother had found more than 120 calls or text messages from the student's cell phone to Esson's.

He eventually admitted to the sexual relationship in Esson's America's Best Value Inn motel room while a baby-sitter and Esson's children, ages 4 and 8, slept on beds nearby. The boy told authorities Esson offered him alcohol, which he declined.

Esson had finalized a divorce just prior to the trip. She was also accused of trying to contact the alleged victim on his cell phone earlier this year after her arrest.

Esson was arrested Dec. 18 in Parker and her father subsequently posted $25,000 bond, according to court documents. She hired Mackey for legal counsel, a Denver attorney who also helped represent Kobe Bryant.

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611

pfowler@postindependent.com

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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The Post Independent Updated Jun 19, 2007 07:00PM Published Jun 19, 2007 07:00PM Copyright 2007 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.