A 30-year-old former South Philadelphia High School teacher has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison for having sex earlier this year with a 14-year-old girl.
Joshua Uhrich was a special-education teacher at the high school when he first contacted the girl in January through the social-networking site MySpace.com. The girl was a student at South Philly High, but did not know Uhrich before their online communication.
On May 7, Uhrich pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving a person under 16 years old, a first-degree felony, Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Uhrich has since been fired from the school, Fernando Gallard, a school district spokesman said.
After the sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Eileen Hurley said Uhrich first contacted the teen through MySpace, and they agreed to meet Jan. 12 at a Dunkin' Donuts on Broad Street.
From there, Uhrich took the girl to his apartment in Allentown, where they had consensual sex, and the teen stayed over for the weekend.
During the week of Jan. 14, Uhrich saw the girl every day after school, Hurley said. She had oral sex with him in his car, including as they drove through a car wash.
The next Saturday, Jan. 19, Uhrich again picked the girl up and drove her to his Allentown apartment, where they had sex.
When the girl returned home that Monday, her mother and sister confronted her and the girl admitted to the relationship. The mother then called Philadelphia police, who got a search warrant for Uhrich's apartment that week and arrested him Feb. 4.
In court last week, Uhrich, wearing glasses and dressed in a blue button-down shirt and tie, apologized for his actions.
"I have accepted, recognized and acknowledged my bad choices," he said. "I have caused a lot of grief . . . for this, I am sorry."
He apologized to the victim, her family, his family and friends, and to the commonwealth for his "poor judgment."
Defense attorney Jonathan Krinick told Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker that his client has "expressed great remorse" from the moment he met him, and has started sexual-offender counseling.
The victim was not in court. Hurley read a letter by the victim's mother. In it, the mother said she remained "in a certain state of shock" from what happened. She said her daughter has been in therapy and that "no compensation in the world" can repair the damage done to her.
The sentence was a result of a negotiated plea deal between the commonwealth and the defense.
Uhrich, who had been out on bail, was immediately taken into custody after the sentencing hearing. He will be required to undergo sexual-offender treatment while in prison.