A former Holcomb High School teacher accused of having sex with a student during the spring 2015 semester waived her preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon in Finney County District Court.
A preliminary hearing for Katie Rufener, 26, had been scheduled for Tuesday, but she appeared in court and told District Judge Robert Frederick that she wanted to waive her right to the hearing.
Frederick granted the request and scheduled Rufener’s arraignment for 4 p.m. March 9, when she is expected to enter a plea.
When Frederick asked if there was a plea agreement in the works, Rufener said “no.”
Before Tuesday’s short hearing began, prosecutors filed an amendment to the complaint to change the dates of when the alleged sexual acts with the student took place.
Rufener faces three counts of unlawful sexual relations for allegedly having sex with a then 18-year-old male HHS student on March 26 and 27, 2015, and between April 8 and 15, 2015, at her former Garden City residence.
According to court documents, the student gave Finney County Sheriff’s investigators the following account when contacted on June 18, 2015:
The former student said he had sex with Rufener three times while he was a student and she was a teacher at HHS.
He told investigators Rufener talked privately with him in his homeroom class, where she was the teacher, about him coming to her house in Garden City to have sex.
The former student told authorities that Rufener let him into her house on March 26, and when he walked into her bedroom, she was wearing a black robe with no clothing underneath. He told investigators that Rufener performed oral sex on him, and that they also had sexual intercourse.
He said he and Rufener engaged in the same sexual acts together on the amended dates of March 27 and between April 8 and April 15.
If Rufener is convicted, she could face between 31 and 136 months in prison, depending on her criminal history. There is a possibility the prison term could be suspended and she could receive supervised probation.
Frederick explained to her that if convicted on two or more of the charges she could receive either a concurrent or consecutive sentence. A concurrent sentence is where the sentences are served at the same time, while a consecutive sentence is where one sentence has to be completed before starting the subsequent sentence.
Rufener also could face a fine up to $300,000, if convicted.
The USD 363 Board of Education approved Rufener ’s teaching resignation on March 9, 2015, and her cheerleading and dance team coaching resignations April 13, 2015. Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue said she finished out the school year at the high school before returning to her home state of Ohio.
Rufener was arrested Oct. 1. She was placed on administrative leave from her teaching position at Southern Local Schools in Salineville, Ohio, in early October, according to Southern Superintendent John Wilson.