CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A former Catawba County high school teacher and coach has been sentenced to prison for sex crimes involving two underage students.
Jeb Stuart Bass, a former social studies teacher and assistant football and basketball coach at Fred T. Foard High School, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of performing a sex act with a student.
After his guilty plea, Bass was sentenced to serve between 32 and 58 months behind bars. The judge also imposed a suspended sentence of 10 to 21 months with 60 months of supervised probation upon his release from prison.
Bass was also ordered to have no contact with the two female victims and he will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years.
Authorities say the victims were 15 and 17 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, which occurred in 2015 and 2016. Investigators say they do not believe the alleged incidents happened on school grounds but would not give a location.
Officials say more than 50 community members “packed the courtroom in support of [Bass], and some of them spoke for him by telling the Court that Bass had already been adequately punished for his crimes by losing his job and the opportunity to interact with young people as a teacher and coach.”
One of the victims even spoke on Bass’ behalf, saying she didn’t want him to go to prison. That victim’s mother also told the court that “justice could be served without a prison sentence, noting that the defendant was a young man who made a poor decision and would suffer for it.”
“Cases like these divide our communities, and it was our job to find a resolution that balances justice and deterrence with the wishes of the victims,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said. “Now that this case is behind us, it is time for the county to come together and move forward.”
According to school district officials, Bass was hired at Fred T. Foard High School in 2014 as a social studies teacher and was made full-time six months later.