No jail for Hoquiam choir teacher in sex case

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MONTESANO, Wash. (AP) -- The ex-Hoquiam choir teacher who had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student avoids jail but he will not teach again.

Matthew Hirschfelder was sentenced Tuesday in Grays Harbor Superior Court in Montesano. He had been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor for the 2006 relationship but pleaded guilty to a charge of coercion.

In return for a suspended sentence, Hirschfelder agreed to drop the appeal of the suspension of his teaching certificate.

KXRO reports the plea deal ends a five-year legal process. Hirschfelder had argued he had done nothing criminal since the 18-year-old girl was not a minor. The case went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled that student age doesn't matter in teacher-sex cases, even if the student is considered an adult by other state laws.

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Information from: KXRO-AM, http://www.kxro.com