A former teacher who had a sexual relationship with one of his former middle school students will spend at least two decades in prison, a judge decided Tuesday.
Brian Robeson, 36, who taught math at Davis Middle School near 130th and State Streets, was sentenced by Douglas County District Judge Kimberly Pankonin to 40 years in prison. Under state sentencing guidelines, he will have to serve half of that before he can be released.
Last month, Robeson pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sexual assault. In exchange for his guilty plea, the Douglas County Attorney’s Office dropped a second count of first-degree sexual assault.
Prosecutors previously said that the plea deal ensured that the victim wouldn’t have to testify at trial. Robeson also will have to register as a sex offender.
Pankonin credited Robeson with 288 days he already has served in jail.
Robeson’s attorney, Mike Bianchi, said his client has frequently expressed remorse for his actions. “My client has expressed remorse to me every time that I’ve seen him and that’s at least 25 to 30 times,” Bianchi said. “He expressed that again today.”
Messages requesting comment from the student’s family were not returned.
Robeson was arrested in December after police received a tip that he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl, a former student. He was fired by Omaha Public Schools.
Robeson had taught in the district for 13 years, including 10 years teaching math at Prairie Wind Elementary. He taught seventh-grade math at Davis.
At an earlier court hearing, a prosecutor said contact between Robeson and the girl started in 2014, when she was 12. The two began to have sex when she was 13, including in a car and at the girl’s house, officials said.
The girl’s family was granted a protection order against Robeson. In the protection order, the mother said they learned of the abuse when a neighbor caught Robeson inside the family’s house, watching TV, while they were out of town. The girl had given him the home’s security code.
The mother said Robeson had “manipulated and groomed” her daughter, earning her trust, encouraging her to sneak out for sex, giving her gifts and promising that they would marry when the girl turned 19. The girl lied to her parents at one point so Robeson could take her on an overnight camping trip, according to the protection order.
“These have all stunted her adolescent growth and development in ways that cannot be portrayed in the worst of horror movies,” the mother wrote.
The mother said the family thinks the abuse had gone on for as long as 18 months.
Robeson has two young children. His wife filed for divorce in October 2015, before his arrest.