A Tate Elementary School music teacher accused of molesting three students told a judge Tuesday that he intends to accept a plea deal in District Court.
Don Kevin Smith is expected to make an Alford plea to one count of attempted lewdness with a minor under 14, which carries a potential prison sentence of two to 20 years.
An Alford plea does not involve an admission of guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors could prove their case if it went to trial.
The offense is also probational if Smith, who is out of custody, receives a favorable evaluation from probation officials before sentencing.
Smith’s attorney, Vince Consul, announced the deal in Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo’s courtroom, where Smith waived his right to a preliminary hearing in which the judge would have decided whether there was enough evidence for him to go to trial.
According to his arrest report, Smith admitted to investigators that he touched the breasts of three students.
He originally was charged with two counts of lewdness with a minor under 14.
He is scheduled to appear in District Court on Dec. 5 to enter his plea.
Prosecutor Lisa Luzaich said she agreed to drop the other charges in exchange for his plea to attempted lewdness because it keeps open the possibility of Smith receiving as much as two decades in prison and it also would ensure that Smith receives a felony on his record and never teaches again.
“If I can do all that without making three young girls testify than that’s a good thing,” she said.
According to a school district public information officer, Smith is no longer employed with the district.