Choir teacher who had sex with student gets 1 year in jail

Olivia Sondheim was a choir teacher at Lynnwood High School when she had sex with a 16-year-old boy.

EVERETT — Three years after her initial arrest, a former Lynnwood High School choir teacher has been convicted of sexual misconduct with a student.

On Nov. 4, Superior Court Judge Linda Krese sentenced Olivia Sondheim, 28, to one year in jail, which is on the higher end of state sentencing guidelines.

Krese also ordered that Sondheim can’t come into contact with the victim, or work a job that would place her in contact with minors. Once released, she will undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation.

Sondheim and the boy’s first sexual encounter took place April 9, 2016, when he was 16.

The boy said they had sexual contact five to 10 more times, according to court papers. Some of those times, Sondheim would drive him to her home, he told detectives. He recalled seeing the initials of Sondheim and her then-husband displayed in large letters on the wall of the master bedroom. He said some of the contact also took place in the teacher’s classroom, on a field trip and at a local park.

Sondheim ended the relationship around the end of that school year, telling the boy she wanted to focus on her marriage, according to court papers. She has since divorced.

The teacher also was investigated for alleged sexual contact with another student, which reportedly took place during the summer of 2016. No charges have been filed in connection with that case.

In Washington, the legal age for sexual consent generally is 16. However, teachers, police officers and others in positions of public trust face additional rules regarding their conduct.

Sondheim was found guilty after a bench trial in September. Afterward, she wrote a letter to the judge asking for a more lenient sentence, saying she had taken time over the past few years to reflect on her mistakes.

“My betrayal of him and his family is absolutely inexcusable,” she wrote. “No words will make up for the damage that I have done to them, and the grief I have caused them.”

Since her arrest in October 2016, Sondheim wrote that she has found jobs outside of education, most recently at a real estate firm.

She has no other criminal history.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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