A former teacher and tennis coach has been ordered to spend eleven years to life in prison for having a sexual relationship with a former student -- who was underage.
Thirty-six-year-old Kevin Ponis (POH'-niss) learned his sentence today in a Jefferson County courtroom. He was convicted in January of one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust -- in a pattern of conduct.
Ponis had sex with a 17-year-old former student during the summer following her graduation from Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton. Ponis said he thought the girl was 18.
But in a jailhouse interview, Ponis says he's upset and disappointed that he made decisions which brought him down -- and acknowledged he "wasn't thinking" when the relationship was taking place.
Prosecutors argued during Ponis' trial that he had access to athletic and school rosters, and could have learned the girl's age if he'd wanted to.
Two other students testified they also had sexual relationships with Ponis, but they were 18 at the time.