A former Washington Community Schools employee will serve no jail time after pleading guilty to one count of child seduction in Daviess Superior Court Wednesday.
Judge Dean Sobecki sentenced William Breeden, 29, Washington, to two-and-a-half years with the Indiana Department of Corrections and then suspended that sentence and ordered Breeden to spend one year on home detention and 18 months on supervised probation.
In pronouncing the sentence, Sobecki said he found a number of mitigating factors but did not want the sentence to downplay the seriousness of the crime.
“This is a difficult case,” said Sobecki. “You just picked a bad crime to commit. The public has a right to send their children to school without worrying about the staff preying on them.”
Breeden had been working as a non-certified employee of the Washington Community Schools in 2016 when he was arrested on four counts of child seduction. Police made the arrest claiming Breeden had become sexually involved with a 17-year-old female student.
During his sentencing hearing, Breeden contended he did not know that the involvement with a student was illegal.
“I thought it was the same as if I were a landscaper,” he said. “I fell in love with her and that is what drove my decisions.”
Breeden says he has had no further contact with the young woman since his arrest. He also has managed to stay employed and testified that he helps support his grandmother’s household, where he lives.
Breeden’s attorney asked the court for leniency pointing out that the defendant had not been in trouble before the 2016 arrest or since then.
“I could find no aggravating factors that would lead to him receiving a harsher sentence,” said defense attorney Jeff Neal. “I did find six mitigating factors. I believe he would more likely respond to probation, prison would cause an undue hardship on his family, and he is highly unlikely to re-offend.”
Breeden told the court that he holds no ill will to the woman involved in the case and has stayed away from her.
“I want her to have the life she wants and hold no grudges against her,” he said.
Neal requested two years on supervised probation, but the judge disagreed.
“I believe there was damage done because of this crime,” said Sobecki. “To make the sentence less would reduce the seriousness of the crime.”
As part of the agreement, Breeden was forced to give up his substitute teacher’s license and agree to not teach or coach. He was also placed on the sex offender registry for 10 years. Three additional counts of child seduction were dismissed.
Daviess County Prosecutor Dan Murrie declined to comment on the case except to say, “my heart goes out to the victim and I hope she is doing well.”