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Former DC Teacher Gets 11 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing Students

A D.C. charter school teacher who admitted to sexually abusing students was sentenced Friday to 11 years and 10 months in prison.

Robert Leach, 33, of Silver Spring, was a middle school math teacher at Meridian Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. when he sexually abused four of his students between 2010 and 2013. 

In court Friday, one of his victims said she had believed she was in a relationship with her teacher. They had sex several times, starting when she was just 12 years old. She said she's still traumatized over what he did, and she tried to take her own life.

Leach abused students starting in 2011, prosecutors said. The abuse continued into 2013, when one victim's mother threatened to report Leach to police. He left the D.C. area the same day and flew to the Grand Cayman Islands. He then moved to the United Arab Emirates to work as a teacher. In July 2015, he was extradited from the United Kingdom and incarcerated.

Try as he might, Leach could not escape justice, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu said. 

"No matter how much time had elapsed, or how many miles he traveled, Robert Leach could not escape responsibility for the crimes he committed against four vulnerable children entrusted to his care," Liu said in a statement. "Because of the dedicated efforts of law enforcement in the United States and abroad, he now is paying the price for his predatory acts."

Leach and his wife said in court that they were sorry for the pain the teacher caused.

But a judge said he didn't know if he believed the apology to be genuine.

He's set to spend the next decade behind bars for his crimes. Then, he will be placed on supervised release for 25 years and registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

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