CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County circuit judge sentenced a former Miss Kentucky to the maximum two years in prison Wednesday after she sent topless photos of herself to a teenage boy who was a student at the school where she was teaching.
Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom told Ramsey Bearse, 30, she violated her position of trust at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes and then failed to accept responsibility for what she had done.
Bearse, who was Miss Kentucky 2014, pleaded guilty last December to one count of possession of material depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct. She was arrested in December 2018 and originally charged with four counts of sending obscene material to a minor. She said in a previous court hearing she meant the photos for her husband.
Bloom told Bearse her plea deal from prosecutors was lenient.
Bearse, who lost her job as a Kanawha County teacher, apologized during Wednesday’s hearing which was conducted via Skype due to the pandemic. She told the judge she was truly sorry and would never do it again.
Longtime Charleston attorney Al Emch, speaking on behalf of Bearse as a family friend, told Bloom Bearse was “a good person.”
“These occurrences are a one-time event,” Emch said. “There’s a lot of publicity surrounding this situation because of Ramsey’s notoriety and past background but no one else has come forward because there was no one else. She’s been very honest, straightforward, remorseful, sorrowful about this situation.”
Ramsey’s attorney Tim Dipiero told Bloom prison wouldn’t be good for Bearse. He said she was diagnosed with MS when she was 19 and prison could be a life or death situation for her.
Dipiero added Bearse had suffered in other ways since her arrest.
“She’s not just received local attention. She’s received national attention and been subjected to vile and crude jokes,” Dipiero said.
The mother of the boy, who was 14 when he received the photos on Snapchat, told the court Wednesday her son would require counseling for what happened. She said Bearse was never his teacher and she didn’t know how the whole thing began. She said Bearse’s attorney was trying to make it sound like her son was not the victim.
A civil lawsuit naming the Kanawha County Board of Education as a defendant is expected to be filed soon.
Bloom also sentenced Bearse to 10 years of supervised release after she serves her prison term. She will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Bearse is to self-report to jail on Monday.