Hanover County

Legal expert weighs in on Hanover teacher's indecent liberties case

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) -- A woman listed as a science teacher at Patrick Henry High School was fired Thursday as she faces serious felony charges in Hanover County.

Miranda N. Pauley was arrested and charged with four counts of indecent liberties by a custodian and a count of use of a communication system for crimes against children, according to police. 

She faced a judge Friday afternoon after being charged on May 31 with six felonies. 

Russ Stone, a local legal expert, told 8News that each charge that Pauley will face carries up to a five-year sentence. 

Stone told 8News that sex crimes against minors are always serious but the punishment for the crime can be harsher, depending on whether or not the adult is in a position of authority over the child. 

"If that person is in a custodial role, or supervisory role or a counselor or anything of that nature, it becomes that much more serious," Stone said.

Stone told 8News that the severity of the punishment could be impacted the more courts see cases similar to Pauley's.

"It does seem like it's happening more often and usually when that happens it results in judges handing out more harsh punishments," Stone said. 

Pauley does not have a criminal background so a judge granted her a $50,000 bond with certain conditions:

  • she cannot leave the state
  • she cannot contact anyone under 18 unless they're accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • she cannot be on school property in any district
  • she cannot have any contact with the victim, the victim's family or a third party

Pauley is scheduled to make her next court appearance on July 12.

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