Jeffrey R. Sears Jr., a 29-year-old former teacher at Glen Burnie High School, could face more than 50 years in prison after allegedly having sex with 15 and 16-year-old students over the course of two years, the Baltimore Sun reports.
According to the paper, Sears is accused of sleeping with students in the classroom, at his home, in his car, and one "sexual encounter" in a school stairwell.
Anne Arundel County State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Kristin Fleckenstein told the Baltimore Sun that Sears entered so-called "Alford pleas" -- in which the defendant admits sufficient evidence may exist in order to convict them beyond a reasonable doubt, but nevertheless denies committing the crime -- to two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of a fourth-degree sex offense.
Alford pleas are treated as guilty pleas, allowing the court to move forward with sentencing without the need for a trial.
The Associated Press reports county prosecutors are seeking a 10 year prison sentence, despite the maximum possible sentence being more than 50 years. Sentencing is scheduled for April 27 in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
Two of the alleged student-victims attended the hearing, Glen Burnie Patch reports, while a third student graduated in 2011 and was not present.
Patch also reports that, although Sears is technically still an employee of the school district, the county superintendent is working to have him removed and stripped of his teaching license.
Glen Burnie resident Billie Kenny told WJLA TV he is disgusted by the ordeal.
"I think its horrendous," Kenny told the station. "I think that you ought be able to send your child to school without having to worry about a teacher being overly friendly with them."
While the victims and their parents declined to comment, WJLA reports Sears' lawyer says the former educator accepts responsibility and will "express his remorse at the appropriate time."
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