CONWAY — A Chocorua woman who was working in Pennsylvania as a substitute teacher and charged there in March of 2018 with having sexual contact with a student has pleaded guilty to one of the charges.
Pennsylvania State Police charged Whitney Roberts, 26, with two counts of institutional sexual assault and a misdemeanor corruption of a minor count regarding incidents that allegedly took place in November of 2017.
Roberts is a former Kennett High School softball standout and previously organized a girls' softball tournament called the Mount Washington Valley Classic that was among the largest such tournaments in New England.
She also was head coach for an all-star softball team called the Concord Cannons.
Towanda Area School District Superintendent Amy Martell told police Roberts began working for the district in the fall of 2017. Roberts apparently started out as an intern but then became a substitute teacher.
On June 22, 2018, the case moved from a magisterial district court in Bradford County (Pa.) to the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas, where Roberts faced nine felony counts of intercourse/sexual contact with a student; and one felony count and one misdemeanor count each of corruption of a minor.
Roberts pleaded guilty March 12 to one third-degree felony count of intercourse/sexual conduct with a student. Third-degree felonies are less serious than first-degree felonies.
Police documents say Roberts had sex with the student a number of times.
Bradford County Prosecutor Albert Ondrey, reached Monday by phone, declined to specify the incident to which Roberts pleaded guilty but did say the other charges will be dropped at sentencing unless she withdraws the plea beforehand, which, he said, is "generally difficult to do."
Ondrey said Roberts faces up to seven years behind bars and following her plea will be put on the sexual offender registry.
"She would be required to register in any state she resides in under current federal requirements," he said.
Roberts is scheduled to be sentenced June 3 by Judge Evan Williams III of Bradford County's Court of Common Pleas, which is a trial court.
What happens at sentencing is up to Judge Williams.
At present, Roberts is free on bail.
Asked whether Roberts' movements from state to state would be restricted by anything other than incarceration, Ondrey said that would be up to her and the probation department.
He said an interstate compact deals with supervision of some types of offenders who may live in a state different from where the crime of which they were convicted took place. New Hampshire authorities would have to accept transfer if Roberts seeks to live in New Hampshire.
Roberts taught at Towanda Area School District. Towanda is the county seat of Bradford County, which sits on the border with New York state and is about 70 miles northwest of Scranton.
Daily Review of Towanda reported in March 2018 that Roberts had been charged with having sex with a teenage boy in Franklin Township, Pa. The paper said she made out with a 17-year-old boy at a party that took place the Friday before Thanksgiving. They allegedly exchanged information, and she took him home.
An updated affidavit by Trooper Miranda Musick of Pennsylvania State Police Troop P, dated June 22, 2018, said the boy told Musick "that he had sex with the defendant a few more times than he initially told me," said Musick.
The boy told the trooper that before Roberts went home to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving, she picked him up at a store in Elmira, N.Y., about 35 miles north of Towanda, PA. Then she stopped at a convenience store and got gas and "a 13-pack of tall white cans that was not beer," the boy said.
"He explained that it was a fruity alcohol," the affidavit said.
The boy said he drove Roberts' car back to her house while she sat in the passenger seat. The car was pulled over by state troopers, who let him off with a verbal warning.
Once they got to her house, they allegedly had sex and the boy spent the night at her house, he told Musick.
He said they also got together after Thanksgiving but he "couldn't remember the day." He said she picked him up at a friend's house. They had sex in her home three times and she performed oral sex on him, he said.
"He stayed the night that night, and she dropped him off at (redacted) residence before school," said the affidavit. "He related that he could tell me the layout of her house and what she wears to sleep in. He explained she wears black and orange Powder Puff jersey with shorts."
Musick said that a trooper did in fact pull the boy over early on Nov. 24, 2017, in Roberts' car. Roberts said she had been drinking and that was why the boy was driving.
"The female told Tpr. (Anthony) Avvisato that her family owned a cabin off of SR 414 and that is where they were heading," said the affidavit. "At the time this occurred, the defendant lived at a cabin off of SR 414."