PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former Avonworth music teacher Walter Street pleaded guilty to charges including rape on the day jury selection was to begin.
Street was accused of inappropriate contact with a young female relative. As a result, he was not permitted on school property after the allegations surfaced.
However, the case raised concerns in the Avonworth School District.
At a hearing before Allegheny County Judge Jill Rangos, Street pleaded guilty to rape, unlawful contact with a minor, statutory sexual assault, incest, endangering the welfare of children and other charges.
After the guilty plea was recorded, the judge had him sent away to prison immediately. The plea agreement calls for Street to serve three-to-eight years in jail and register as a sex offender for life.
The victim, now in her 20s, was tearful in court. She apparently still wants to maintain a relationship with Street. However, the judge says Street can not respond to her phone calls or letters while incarcerated.
At sentencing, Street told the judge, "I still love her, but I made a mistake for which I am truly sorry."
Street's attorney, Michael Santicola said some of the counts that referred to the victim being assaulted while under the age of 13 were dropped.
"There is no evidence that this happened prior to her turning 13," said Santicola. "And the victim was unable to be specific as to when it happened. My client couldn't be specific as to exactly when it happened other than to say that it was above her age of 13."
"The victim actually did not want Mr. Street to go to jail," said Santicola. "She didn't really want the sentence that came about today, but under the statutes there are mandatory sentences. I mean his maximum would have been almost 80 years in prison and so the deal that we worked out today with a minimum of three years in prison with some credit for time served seemed to be an appropriate result."
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