Former Fort Worth teacher gets seven years of probation in teen sex case

FORT WORTH -- A former North Side High School math teacher has been sentenced to seven years of probation after pleading guilty this week to having sex with a 16-year-old student last year.

Emily Elizabeth Housley, who resigned in July 2009 after being caught in a Fort Worth park with the male student, was initially charged with sexual assault of a child under 17 and improper relationship between an educator and student.

Under a plea agreement, Housley, now 30, pleaded guilty Monday to the improper-relationship charge, a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The sexual-assault and improper-relationship charges carry the same penalty, but the latter does not require Housley to register as a sex offender, prosecutor Eric Nickols said.

Under the terms of her sentence, imposed by Judge Elizabeth Berry of Criminal District Court No. 3, Housley is prohibited from ever teaching children of any age at any type of school, Nickols said.

The teaching prohibition does not include participating in activities at her own children's schools, he said.

Before she was sentenced, Housley completed a sex offender evaluation, a standard condition in such cases, Nickols said. She was not ordered to attend sex offender counseling, he said.

Nickols said the student's family did not attend Housley's sentencing but was consulted about the plea agreement.

Housley's teaching certificate, which was in secondary math, is under review by the State Board for Educator Certification's professional discipline unit. Possible action ranges from a reprimand to revocation of her certificate, which she could also voluntarily surrender.

Authorities said Housley and the boy began flirting and exchanging text messages in early 2009 when he was 15. After the boy turned 16, the relationship evolved into sexual encounters in Housley's classroom after school, in her car, at her mother's home, at Housley's home and at the teen's home, police said.

The relationship became public after a Fort Worth police officer saw Housley and the teen sitting inside a parked car in Sycamore Park shortly before midnight in June 2009.

The teen was ticketed and released to juvenile authorities after falsely telling the officer that he was 18.

Housley was cited for allowing a minor to remain in a public place during curfew hours.

Housley, a TCU graduate who had taught in the Upward Bound program for secondary students, resigned from the Fort Worth district after admitting the relationship to school officials.

Her home was searched and her cellphone and computer seized after the teen's mother told police that her son had also admitted to the relationship.

Nickols said the teen is now in college.

Housley's attorney, Jeff Pierce, did not respond to phone or e-mail messages.

Martha Deller, 817-390-7857