District Attorney Ben Creekmore said Taylor Nichols entered the plea in Circuit Court in Tippah County. Nichols had been accused of kissing a student sometime during the 2010 fall semester.
Judge Andrew Howorth sentenced Nichols to 15 years in prison and then suspended it, which means any violations of the terms of his plea agreement or further lawbreaking could reinstate the term.
Nichols, who resigned from his job Monday, was further sentenced to a five-year probation and is required to register as a sex offender. He also is prohibited from having any contact with the victim or disclosing the victim's identity.
Creekmore said Nichols' status as a felon and a sex offender sends a strong message to others tempted to take advantage of their authority.
"We as a community trust these people with being role models to educate our children," Creekmore said. "If an individual in one of those positions engages in behavior like this, it undermines the trust the whole community puts it them."
The plea agreement was accepted in part to protect the victim from having to testify in court.
"Our primary focus was to minimize as much as possible any further injury to this child as the result of this investigation or court business that needed to be done," Creekmore said. "I'm satisfied that that has been achieved."
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or email@example.com.