Former teacher denied shock probation

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By Thomas Barr

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - A former Bullitt Central teacher who admitted to having sexual contact with a student will not be getting out of prison early.
    Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress overruled a request for shock probation on Thursday for Tim Lands.
    Lands entered a guilty plea for sexual abuse seven months ago and was sentenced to three years in prison. He must also be listed on the sex offender registry for the next 20 years.
    In an emotional speech, Lands apologized to the victim's family and to his own family for the shame he caused by the 2010 incident.
    "I hate myself every day," said Lands, who was a Bullitt County Teacher of the Year recipient during his tenure.
    He said the incident destroyed his family and his wife of 25 years fears that something might happen again.
    During their marriage, Lands said he was able to provide for the family; however, due to his actions, his wife has had to go into the workforce and they are barely making it.
    While on bond waiting a resolution to the case, Lands said he was in sex offender treatment, as well as counseling, both of which were helping him deal with his depression and other issues.
    But, due to his confinement, he has lost wait and the depression has returned.
    His goal is to try to put his life back together with his wife and family. While he has lost his teaching privileges, Lands said he would like to work with school districts to help prevent this type of incident from happening in other places.
    Attorney Brian Butler said that his client has lost everything. On the sex offender report, Lands was listed as a low risk to ever re-offend. The treatment he was receiving prior to his confinement was working and Butler said he has received no such assistance while in prison.
    While listening to Lands' statement, Mann said that the court must remember that he entered a guilty plea to taking advantage of a student. Any reduction in the sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the crime, said Mann.
    Lands speaks of the effects it has had on his family but Mann said the victim and her family have also been hurt.
    The victim quit school and moved to another state to live. Her mother never got to experience the normal events of a girl's high school career, such as proms and graduation.
    "It's not about him," said Mann.
    Mann said such an incident sends a strong message to the entire community.
    "The whole community trusts their children with teachers," said Mann. "She believed her daughter would be protected. That breach of trust is the crime."
    The commonwealth attorney objected to shock probation.
    In explaining his ruling, Burress said probation is based on three issues. He couldn't find that Lands would get better treatment in prison.
    And he understood the report stating the defendant was a low risk to re-offend.
    However, his biggest concern was that any release might depreciate the seriousness of the crime.
    In looking at a civil suit which has been filed by the victim's family against Lands, Burress said it became apparent that some of the encounters between the teacher and student occurred both in and out of school.
    And such an incident has caused a breakdown in the public trust not only of the defendant but also of the school and the school system.
    For that reason, Burress denied the request for shock probation.