'The trust that I destroyed haunts me daily'

'The trust that I destroyed haunts me daily'
BOISE - A former middle school teacher in Meridian who pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Meridian Police say Ashley Jo Beach, 38, a Meridian Middle School teacher, was caught in some bushes back in September with the teen. Police said she was having a sexual relationship with the boy for several months.

Beach will have to serve four years in prison before she's eligible for parole.

"The trust that I destroyed with my family and the community haunts me daily," Beach said in court.

On Tuesday, several new details of the relationship were revealed.

Prosecutors said Beach groomed the boy who was 12 at the time the contact started in April. She would buy the boy shoes and clothes and that she said he was the 'light of her life." Prosecutors said that the former teacher, who admitted that she loved and needed him, wanted the boy to mow her lawn and babysit her three children.

Beach admits the relationship lasted over the summer and that they even had sex in her classroom with the door locked. Prosecutors used previous evidence from Beach against her in court. Beach said the boy came on to her, making sexual advanced and sometimes harassing her and that she was the aggressor.

It was also revealed that Beach, who's birthday was Tuesday, was having an inappropriate relationship with five other students. She has since written apology letters. Details of those relatio nships include talking about getting "tipsy" and other inappropriate matters. She picked one student up in the middle of the night without telling the student's parents.

"She began grooming him when he was in 6th grade and she was his teacher," said Jean Fisher, the prosecuting attorney. "The grooming was methodical and it was calculated."

Beach showed her remorse today in court.

"I owe my husband and my children and my family and my friends endless apologies," Beach said. "The hundreds of former families and students I had taught and built relationships with, along with all the teachers and administrators I knew through the teaching community deserve apologies for my actions."

In court, Beach said losing her job was punishment enough and that she hopes she can talk to other teachers about her wrong-doings and help prevent any future inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

"I only wish I could go back and redo those months of my life," she said. "If only I could go back and spare everyone the pain of my horrific choices."

Today in court Beach's attorney, John Meienhofer, said she would best be served by treatment and not in prison.

"She's not a pedophile," he argued. "She's remorseful and she's gained insight."

The judge in the case did not agree with the defense and sentenced Beach to 20 years with a possibility of parole after four.

"You cashed in your family, your husband and your children, your reputation and you did this for the sake of lust," said Judge Ronald Wilper. "Ms. Beach, there are greater tragedies. You'll be a mother who won't know her children on other than visiting days."

During the investigation, her husband, Shawn Beach was arrested for video voyeurism. He's a former employee of the Ada County Sheriff's office. Prosecutors say Beach's husband knew about the contact with the boy and was jealous. They say he allegedly sent the photos to his wife as a way to get back at her.

Investigators say during Ashley's investigation, they found pictures of partially clothed inmates sent from Shawn to Ashley's phone. The images were taken off a computer screen used to monitor the jail's security camera's, officials say.

After the trial, 2News was the only station to interview both the prosecution and defense.

"This type of sexual molestation of a child has enormous impacts and it doesn't matter whether it was a man or a woman so I feel like we did get a good message out there today," said Fisher.

"It is disappointing because she was remorseful and she knew she'd done wrong and she'd had a long career," Meienhofer said. "It's really unfortunate. This is a tragedy for everyone."

2News.tv was the first place to find out the sentence as the judge announced it earlyTuesday evening.