A former teacher who had a sexual relationship with one of his former middle school students — starting when the girl was 13 — has pleaded guilty and faces at least two decades in prison.
Brian Robeson, 36, was a math teacher at Alfonza W. Davis Middle School, near 130th and State Streets. He pleaded guilty last week to one count of first-degree sexual assault. In exchange for his guilty plea, a second count of first-degree sexual assault was dropped by Douglas County Attorney’s Office prosecutor Molly Keane, court documents show.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 11. He could have faced up to 50 years in prison, but Robeson’s attorney, Michael Bianchi, said his client agreed to a recommended sentence of 40 years. Because of state sentencing laws, that means he’d have to serve about 20 years in prison before he’d be eligible for parole.
Keane said the plea deal ensures that the victim won’t have to testify at what could be a painful trial. As a condition of the deal, Robeson will also have to register as a sex offender.
“He wanted to do the best thing for both the victim and her family, as well as his own family,” Bianchi said. “And that was the best solution, given the options that were available.”
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 swiftly 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.
He was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault against a juvenile, which carried a potential sentence of 20 years to life on each felony count.
At a court appearance where he was denied bail, 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.
Bianchi called the state’s evidence against Robeson “quite compelling.”
“I don’t know if I ever had a client who fell so far, so much, with the level of bad judgment used in this isolated situation,” Bianchi said.
The mother of the girl filed a protection order against Robeson to block him from contacting the girl and her family.
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 security code for the house.
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 they’d 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 they believed the abuse had gone on for as long as 12 to 18 months.
Robeson has two young children. His wife filed for divorce in October 2015, before his arrest.