VERDICT: Former McCaskey teacher guilty of sex with student

Christy Lee Smith

A former McCaskey High School teacher was convicted Wednesday of having sex with a student in 2008.

The jury reached guilty verdicts on five sex crimes regarding Christy Lee Smith's contact with the student, then a 15-year-old sophomore.

The foreman, a man in his 50’s, relayed the verdict to the judge at 3:20 p.m.

The jury panel, following five days of testimony, deliberated for only 40 minutes before convicting Smith on all counts.

Smith, now 35, closed her eyes and opened her mouth, but said nothing, when Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker announced the jury’s decision.

A juror indicated afterward that there was no dispute over Smith’s guilt from the beginning of their deliberations.

The victim, now 20, sat in the courtroom for the verdict, but showed no reaction.

He also sat in for closing arguments late Wednesday afternoon, before the jury began deliberations.

Last week, he testified in great detail about three sexual encounters he had with Smith at her apartment on College Avenue.

The student recalled specific details about the apartment and from the encounters.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, lead prosecutor, said the student’s account of events hasn’t changed since he first spoke to police in 2010.

“It was his first sexual experience and he remembers everything from that (first) night,” Mansfield said in a closing argument. “She used her role as a teacher and a confidant and she exploited that.”

Mansfield called a number of teachers and school staff who testified to seeing “red flags” between the teacher and student.

“Teachers are supposed to protect our children,” Mansfield said outside of court, after the verdict. “This was a betrayal that harmed a child.”

Defense attorney Janice Longer, in closing, argued the student has mental-health issues and is a convicted serial burglar.

Longer also suggested the student made the allegation out of anger against the school district, which placed him outside of an honors program for his senior year.

Longer wasn’t immediately available for comment after the verdict.

Earlier Wednesday, Smith testified that she and the student kissed, but they didn't have sex.

Smith testified that the student was “socially awkward” and she tutored him on a near-daily basis.

The victim previously testified that the two took walks together in the Buchanan Park area and had sex on at least three separate dates.

Smith said that she would “coincidentally” come across the student at night near her home, but the meetings weren't arranged.

On one of those occasions, she said, the student kissed her three times.

“I pushed him away and hit him,” she testified. “I told him if it happened again, I would report it.”

Defense attorney Janice Longer asked Smith if the two ever had sex.

“Never,” Smith replied.

Longer asked if they had oral sex.

“No,” Smith replied.

According to Smith, the student continued to contact her, even after school officials forbid any contact outside of regular English class.

Brett Hambright is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer who covers crime and the Lancaster County court system. He can be reached at or (717) 481-6026. You can also follow @BrettHambright on Twitter.