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Former LaRue County teacher appears in court

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Natalie Gentry charged with sexual abuse

By Sarah Bennett

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office requested Tuesday to continue a hearing in the case against a former LaRue County High School teacher accused of having a sexual encounter with a male student.

Natalie C. Gentry, 34, is charged with first-degree sexual abuse. She appeared in court Tuesday for a pretrial conference with attorney Roger Rigney, who was standing in for Louisville attorneys Scott C. Cox and Rob Eggert.

Prosecutors asked to reschedule the pretrial conference for March 12, which is six days before the jury trial is scheduled to begin.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young said prosecutors want time to interview the alleged victim, who was a 17-year-old student at LaRue County High School at the time.

If a disposition is not reached at the pretrial conference, the case will proceed to a March 18 jury trial, Young said.

Kentucky State Police began investigating Gentry after a LaRue County official contacted Post 4 regarding allegations against the English teacher. Her contract with the school was terminated in October 2011 when the investigation began.

During a preliminary hearing last March, KSP Detective Aaron Gabhart said the 17-year-old student said he had sexual intercourse with Gentry during a one-time encounter. The incident occurred in summer 2011 while he was working for Gentry at her Elizabethtown home.

Gentry has been out on a partially secured $20,000 bond since Jan. 12, 2012.

First-degree sexual abuse is a Class D felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison if found guilty, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes.

When Gentry was arrested last January, she also was charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct.

Police said one of those counts stemmed from alleged sexual encounters with an 18-year-old male student. However, Gentry was not indicted on those charges.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.