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Fairfield High School guidance counselor pleads guilty to sexual battery

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Posted at 11:49 AM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 11:49:19-04

FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- A high school guidance counselor pleaded guilty to a sex crime involving a student.

Craig Harden, 43, of Liberty Township, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in Butler County Common Pleas Court to one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, WHIO reported.

Fairfield City Schools placed Harden on administrative leave on Oct. 25 pending board consideration of the matter on Nov. 2, according to Superintendent Billy Smith.

"The district has been cooperating fully with the Fairfield Police Department and will continue to do so," Smith said in a statement. "Once the district was made aware of the allegations and a criminal investigation began, Mr. Harden was immediately placed on administrative leave."

Harden was an assistant coach for the high school’s girls basketball team and coach the girl’s golf team, WHIO reported.

“Mr. Harden told me that he did in fact have sexual intercourse with the known underage victim on two separate occasions at her home,” according to a police report by Officer Aaron Meyer. “Mr. Harden told me that the two became close in the late summer months of 2017.”

Harden, who was an assistant coach for the Fairfield High School girls basketball team and coached the girls golf team, was placed on leave Oct. 25 by the district.

Judge Greg Howard set sentencing for Dec. 20. Harden faces a maximum of 60 months in prison.

WHIO is a media partner of WCPO.