A former Nye County School District substitute administrative aide was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison this week after she admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old student multiple times in 2012.
Amanda McGough appeared in District Court Friday morning on a single charge of sexual conduct between certain employees of a school or volunteers at a school and a pupil, a category C felony.
She was first arrested in the case on June 15, 2012 after she reportedly told her husband she was having an affair with a 16-year-old Pahrump Valley High School student.
The husband then went to police to report the misconduct and a Nye County Sheriff’s detective launched an investigation into the allegation.
According to an arrest report, the woman was honest when confronted, telling police she knew the male was 16 years old and providing various details about how they met and what their relationship involved.
McGough reportedly met the student in April 2012 and three weeks later, after she had taken a position at another school in the district, she told police the two began having sex.
She said none of the encounters took place on school grounds.
McGough further provided police access to her email and Facebook accounts, telling officers she had emails containing explicit images of both she and the student.
She was subsequently arrested and later released from custody after posting bail.
Although the legal age of consent in Nevada is 16, because McGough was working at the school district, it was illegal for her to have relations with the student.
During her sentencing hearing this week, she told the judge she was sorry for what she had done.
“I’m sorry. I mean I screwed up and made a bad decision and I’m going to pay for it forever. I love my job and I love my family and my couple friends I do have. It’s hard waking up every day, but I do it and I try to continue on with my life,” she said.
Her defense attorney, Jason Earnest, argued his client should get probation in the case based on her lack of criminal history, her true remorse for her actions and the fact she had a family to support with her new position at a local towing company.
“If there is ever a case on these types of charges, if there’s a person who deserves probation, it’s this person to my right,” he told the court. “(According to the psychologist’s report) she fits the classic profile of a female offender in a teaching/authority position who was having problems in her marriage and relationship and turned to a star-struck student for attention. This is offered as an explanation, not as an excuse. She will be required to register as a sex offender forever, she knows that and is absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of the decision she made back then,” he said.
The attorney further argued McGough was gainfully employed as an essential office member of a local towing company and that despite her actions the previous year she was not a threat to the community.
“She is not a risk to the community, she has no criminal history whatso-ever and I understand part of what you consider judge is we don’t like these things in Nye County. And we don’t. But you have to consider we have someone who had a complete perfect storm of bad luck for her to make the terrible decision she made. She’s not a predator, she’s gainfully employed, she’s not a drug addict or a thief and she will be punished for life, no matter what you do. A year in jail isn’t going to do anything. She is going to forever and always be a registered sex offender in her community,” he said.
Prosecutor Michael Vieta-Kabell added while the state found McGough’s actions deplorable, the state would go along with the Department of Parole and Probation’s recommendation she receive probation in the case as well.
Despite the recommendation, presiding Judge Kimberly Wanker said she didn’t see probation as an option for McGough.
“It’s particularly egregious when those who prey on children are those who are there to serve those kids, whether that’s teachers, school administrators, assistants or aides,” the judge said. “Quite frankly, I’ve read the police report from when you were arrested, I’ve read everything in this case file and I’m absolutely appalled that the first thing you said was, well he was 16 so he could give consent. This isn’t a situation where you were dating someone who was 16, this was where you were in a position of authority at a school district and that’s the reason behind the law. Parents should feel comfortable when they send their students to school that they don’t have to worry that they’re going to have school personnel prey on their children. You think when you send your kids to school they’re going to be safe. And quite frankly I think it’s kind of an excuse, your marriage wasn’t working out so you preyed on someone who was 16 and at school sent you a note.”
The judge further added it didn’t matter that the defendant didn’t have any prior criminal history, she needed to accept the consequences for the crimes committed.
“I don’t think it’s an appropriate message that you can sleep with a student from school and then walk out these doors on probation,” Wanker said.
She subsequently sentenced McGough to 24 to 60 months in prison.
In addition to her incarceration, McGough will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life under the terms of her conviction.