Jurors in the sex crimes case of a former Miamisburg Middle School teacher weighed the 15-year-old alleged victim’s detailed testimony against the student’s earlier denials that anything happened.
Prosecutors said the actions and words of Jessica Langford, 32, of Centerville, are “words and actions of guilt.”
Defense lawyers argued the teen lied to the jury Thursday when he testified what happened and that they should believe the teen’s earlier denials of a relationship with Langford.
Langford is accused of three counts each of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
The jury of eight men and four women spent about 90 minutes in deliberations Thursday evening before being sent home. They will resume work this morning.
The teen told jurors a principal knocked on Langford’s locked door that May 23, 2017, morning before class had started.
“Mrs. Langford tells me to hide under the desk,” the teen said.
Langford told the student afterward to “stick to the story” about helping her stack chairs and desks.
In closing arguments, Montgomery County prosecutors said Jessica Langford is seeking “escape routes” for her sexual encounter that the teen testified lasted 20 to 30 minutes in a Miamisburg Middle School classroom.
Defense attorney Lawrence Greger countered to the jury, “Reasonable doubt exists in this case.”
» RELATED: Sex-with-student cases swamp area schools
The teen accuser, whose father is a local police officer, said he and Langford had oral sex and intercourse in her classroom before school on his last day as an eighth-grader.
“I unzipped her shirt and she had a purple bra on … and I pulled her pants down and put her on the ledge,” the teen, now 15, told jurors Thursday morning.
Greger presented no witnesses after the state rested its case Thursday just before noon.
Prosecutors called about a dozen witnesses, the second to last of whom was the teen accuser.
During the alleged sex with Langford, the teen testified, “It felt uncomfortable … I thought it was wrong.”
Afterward, the teen said, he did want to talk about the encounter with anyone and repeatedly lied about it to school administrators, his father and his girlfriend of more than a year.
The teen “did not hide that,” Assistant Prosecutor Bryan Moore told the jury. “He told (you) who he lied to.”
Moore said the teen’s denials after his May 23 involvement with Langford were “self-preservation.”
The teen “took extreme measures and said some extreme things to preserve” a relationship with his girlfriend, Moore said.
The teen has “never bragged about this to anybody … he wants people to leave him alone.”
Prosecutors said Langford also lied about her involvement with the teen. One instance, they said, is when Principal Kelly Thomas asked her that morning if the teen was in her classroom and she said he was not. Video surveillance showed the teen leaving Langford’s classroom.
» LOCAL FOCUS: West Dayton Aldi’s set to shutter Sunday
Later that day, Langford was placed on administrative leave, school district officials said.
She submitted her resignation in a letter dated that day, records show.
Greger sought inconsistencies in the teen accuser’s testimony. In one instance, he denied helping with a pizza party in Langford’s classroom that week. After watching a school surveillance video, the teen said he did assist with the party.
The teen accuser testified for more than an hour, providing mostly short answers and confirming other information with “yes, sir.”
His most elaborate response came in reading much of a series of social media exchanges he said he had with Langford beginning shortly before 8 a.m. and ending just before 9 a.m. that day.
The teen said he initially went along with a comment from Langford to “stick to the story” because he has “never been one to throw people under the bus … to tell on other people.”
He told the jury that on June 12 he agreed to give a DNA sample to see if any of Langford’s DNA remained.
Earlier in the trial, Greger asked other witnesses if any DNA samples were taken from Langford’s classroom or if the site was ever treated as a crime scene.