By Chris Evans
One year and a day after sheriff’s deputies arrested Karen Roberts, a jury convicted her of sexually assaulting four Merritt Island High school students 64 times.
The verdict, given Aug. 27, 1995, and now on appeal, has not stopped the teacher’s claims of innocence.
Roberts of Satellite Beach maintains the students set her up as revenge for failing one of them and jeopardizing his graduation.
Although sentenced to 10 years in prison, Roberts tried to keep her job with the Brevard County School District. That attempt failed Oct 24, when School Board members voted 5-0 to fire her.
Roberts’ attorney, Lorene Powell of the Florida Education Association/United, had asked School Board members to delay discussion of firing the former teacher until after the appeal.
Powell said the School Board’s hearing was unfair because Roberts, who had not been drawing a salary, cannot go before the board to defend herself.
“She’s like anyone else,” Powell said. “She is entitled to a hearing before she loses her job. She still maintains her innocence.”
If Roberts’ appeal on the criminal charges is successful, she will return to the School Board to discuss her job status, Powell said.
This story appeared Nov. 7, 1995, in Florida Today.