ELYRIA — A Lorain father who blackmailed a teacher over topless photos she sent to his teenage son pleaded guilty Monday to extortion.
Tyrone Price, 39, declined to speak before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski sentenced him to two years of probation and ordered him to pay $292 in restitution to the teacher.
According to Lorain County Sheriff’s deputies, Price’s son and Michelle Kazmierczak’s daughter were dating when the boy made comments comparing how the mother and daughter looked. That prompted Kazmierczak, who was teaching at Columbia Schools at the time, to send the teen photos of herself topless and in a bra.
Price later found the photos on his son’s phone, deputies have said, and then contacted Kazmierczak, telling her he didn’t want police or her husband to learn about the images.
In a series of phone calls and text messages, which reportedly took place in December 2010, Price first demanded an Xbox for his silence.
When Kazmierczak said she couldn’t make that kind of purchase without her husband finding out, she sold some jewelry and borrowed some money to give Price nearly $300.
Price demanded more, deputies have said, at one point suggesting she sell her wedding ring.
When she refused, he suggested she file a false insurance claim saying the ring was lost.
Kazmierczak contacted deputies, who launched the investigation that ultimately led to the extortion charge against Price.
Kazmierczak, who resigned her teaching job last year, pleaded no contest in Elyria Municipal Court to persistent disorderly conduct for sending the photos and was ordered to pay $150 in fines.
An additional $350 in fines and a 30-day jail sentence was suspended.
Price’s defense attorney, Mike Duff, said after Monday’s hearing that he believed his client got a fair sentence.
“He wanted to put this behind him and move on with his life,” he said. “This behavior was an aberration.”
At the time he was charged in the extortion case, Price was in a court-run diversion program after pleading guilty to theft and misuse of credit cards for stealing $23,556 from the Amherst Youth Football Association, which he led from 2006 until he resigned in May 2010.
Duff previously has said Price didn’t steal the money, but was a sloppy bookkeeper.