Chism to serve 1 year in jail

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Former TCHS teacher agrees to plea deal

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner

A former Trimble County High School teacher was sentenced Thursday, Feb. 18, to one year in jail with five years’ conditional discharge on a single count of first-degree sexual assault.

Kirk G. Chism, 39, of Madison, Ind., was indicted in Kentucky June 19 on three counts of first-degree sexual assault – a Class D felony – for having had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female TCHS student while he was a teacher in Bedford. Chism also faces three counts of child seduction in Jefferson County, Ind., and is scheduled for trial in Superior Court there April 15. The Indiana charges, also a Class D felony, stem from his relationship with the same student, which had continued over the state line.

A spokesman in the prosecuting attorney’s office stated that a motion to dismiss was filed Dec. 29 on behalf of Chism in Superior Court.

Attempts to reach attorney Will Goering, who is representing Chism in the Indiana courts, for comment on the nature of the motion were unsuccessful by press time Tuesday.

Goering is a partner with Alcorn in the Madison firm of Alcorn, Georing and Sage LLP.

In the plea deal, Judge Karen A. Conrad dismissed two of the counts on the recommendation of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. She also placed Chism on five years conditional discharge and ordered him to complete a sex-offender treatment program. Under the conditional discharge, Chism must comply with all court requirements or face possible reinstatement of the charges and additional jail time.

Chism also was ordered to undergo HIV and DNA testing, the results of which will be entered into a national criminal database.

Conrad, citing the nature of the crime, also ordered Chism to register with the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry for 20 years.

Court officials said it is likely Chism will have to register as a sex offender in Indiana, too.

If convicted in Indiana, Conrad said Chism first will finish his year in jail in Kentucky. Upon release, he must immediately report to Indiana authorities to serve whatever sentence he may receive there.

Chism’s attorney, Merritt Alcorn, asked the judge for waivers on some of the other conditions, including restriction of contact with school-aged children. Chism and his wife, who appeared in court with Chism and several other family members, have three young children.

Conrad said the waivers will be discussed at a later date.

Conrad ordered Chism’s $1,000 cash bond (representing 10 percent of the original bond set at the time of his arrest) returned to his wife, who, he said, had posted it for him, minus court costs.

History in Trimble schools

Chism was hired in 1998 to teach at Trimble County Middle School. He moved up to the high school to teach during the 2004-05 school year.

Up until his resignation March 31, for which Chism cited “very personal reasons,” according to Principal Stirling Sampson, he was teaching sociology, psychology and U.S. history.

His resignation came before the indictments.

Just weeks before, Chism had been tapped to coach the TCHS Raiders football team.