Ex-Garfield high teacher gets 6 months for sex with student

Ex-Garfield high teacher gets 6 months for sex with student
FILE -- Taryn Fairbanks is seen at a July 2010 court hearing.
A former Garfield High School teacher who admitting having oral sex with a 17-year-old boy she had taught was sentenced to six months in jail on Friday.

Taryn M. Fairbanks, 34, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, a felony, acknowledging she abused her supervisory position.

She will be given credit for 24 days served in jail since her guilty plea. Part of her sentence will incude 30 days of community service.

She has lost her teaching license, must serve 12 months in community custody after serving her sentence and has to register as a sex offender.

Fairbanks also cannot have contact with 12- to 17-year-old boys.

A sobbing Fairbanks asked King County Judge Greg Canova whether she can see her minor daughter. He said she could.

"I just want to get done with this and move on with my life," Fairbanks, dressed a red jail uniform, said.

It was the sentence that prosecutors had recommended and that Fairbanks had agreed to.

Fairbanks moved to Las Vegas, but was staying in Bellevue while the case continued in King County Superior Court.

On June 29, police received a tip that Fairbanks, also known as Taryn Stermer, was sexually involved with a former Garfield student, now 19, and the 17-year-old student. Both teens were students of Fairbanks, who taught English at the school and advised the student newspaper. The 17-year-old allegedly admitted having oral sex with Fairbanks at a party June 23.

The 19-year-old former student allegedly told police that he had sexual contact with Fairbanks during a "one-night connection," but denied it was "sex." He told the detective he didn't have a sexual relationship with his former teacher until roughly a year after he graduated. The incident is not alleged to be a criminal offense.

Writing the court, a Seattle police detective said Fairbanks admitted to sex with the 17-year-old at his home June 23, saying "this was the one and only sexual contact" with the student.

"She reported that she knows this contact was inappropriate and that she doesn't normally 'hang out with students,'" the detective told the court. "She described herself as having an issue with alcohol, and reported that she was in the midst of an alcohol relapse at the time of the incident."

Fairbanks allegedly admitted to some physical contact with the 19-year-old former student, but denied having sexual contact with him. She denied being sexually involved with any other students or attending any student parties aside from the one at the 17-year-old's home.

Fairbanks previously worked for the Kent and Renton school districts before being hired by Seattle Public Schools in September 2006. She submitted her resignation June 1, weeks before the alleged incident with the 17-year-old.

Her resignation was effective June 30, district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said previously. A detective was assigned to the case July 1, and Garfield principal Ted Howard was alerted to the report.

"Although he had not heard of the allegations prior to notification by police, he quickly learned that the rumors of the teacher's sexual activity were widespread among students at Garfield, and even among students at other schools," the detective told the court.

In a similar case, a Kentlake teacher on paid administrative leave pleaded not guilty earlier this month to the charge of felony sexual misconduct with a minor. Prosecutors allege Barbara Anderson, 37, had sex with a student and sent hundreds of text messages back and forth beginning last year.

In yet another case, a former Bellevue middle school teacher has been charged with child rape, sexual misconduct and child molestation after he was allegedly caught naked in the back seat of his Honda Civic with a 16-year-old girl he'd taught.

Police say the 31-year-old man, Matthew J. Jones, was with the girl about 1:40 a.m. March 20 in Lattawood Park in Bellevue. His arraignment, where he's expected to enter a plea, is scheduled for April 14.

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