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Former Arapahoe High teacher sentenced to 5 years for sexually assaulting one of his students

The victim told investigators that after the murder of student Claire Davis, she sought support from Ian Ahern, 41.
Credit: ACSO

CENTENNIAL, Colo — A former Arapahoe High School drama teacher has been sentenced to five years in prison for sexual assault on a 17-year-old student that took place in 2014 but was not reported until 2019.

Ian Ahern, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, both Class 3 felonies. Other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement, which kept the victim from having to testify at trial, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office said. 

RELATED: Arapahoe High teacher arrested for sexual assault on a student

In early 2019, the victim told a friend, who reported the assault via Safe2Tell, the DA's Office said. 

The victim told investigators that after the murder of student Claire Davis, she sought support from Ahern. He, in turn, touched her inappropriately and tried to have a romantic relationship with the vulnerable student, the DA's Office said. 

RELATED: Claire Davis' family won't sue if school opens up

“I am the victim he chose to sexually assault for months. I struggled tremendously after the shooting, and he took advantage and manipulated me,” the victim told the judge in a statement read to the court. “I kept the burden of his secret for five years … But I could no longer allow other potential victims to interact with him. Now he can carry the burden of his actions.”

Ahern was sentenced to five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on each count, to be served concurrently, followed by five years of parole. Ahern must register as a sex offender.

He had been a teacher at Arapahoe since 2010.

Brian Ewert, a Superintendent with Littleton Public Schools, emailed Arapahoe staff, students and parents last month.

"We take student safety extremely seriously. Therefore, immediate action was taken once we were notified of these allegations through Safe2Tell," the letter read. "Based on their serious nature, Littleton Public Schools placed Mr. Ahern on administrative leave and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation."

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