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Ex-choir director pleads guilty

Profile image for By Megan Gray-Hatfield
By Megan Gray-Hatfield

Former Guyer teacher enters plea deal over improper relationship

A former Guyer High School choir director has pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship with a student, according to county officials.

Michael Paul Pricer, 36, was sentenced to community supervision for 10 years and must pay a $1,000 fine, complete 200 hours of community service and serve 30 days in Denton County Jail, according to a plea agreement with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office on June 19.

Denton police began their investigation into Pricer after a former student’s parents reported their daughter was involved in a sexual relationship while Pricer was still employed with the Denton school district, according to an arrest affidavit.

According to police documents, their relationship began in 2010 with flirting when the student was 17 years old, and later involved lying on blankets under the stars together, and having sexual intercourse on prom night, May 16, 2011.

According to police, their relationship continued even after the student graduated from Guyer and went off to college.

Pricer, a resident of Irving, turned himself into Denton police on Jan. 16, 2013, and was arrested on a warrant accusing him of an improper relationship between an educator and student, a second-degree felony. Later that day, police said, he posted $5,000 bail.

Toby Shook, Pricer’s attorney, said his client accepted responsibility for his actions and is ready to move on with his life.

“We went through the typical negotiations, but he [Pricer] wanted to take responsibility from the very beginning,” Shook said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.

Under Pricer’s terms of agreements, he is unable to have contact with anyone younger than 18, including family, unless supervised by a designated chaperone, with the exception of his own two children. He may not go within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or other area where children commonly gather.

He began serving his jail sentence June 27 during his off-hours from his job. Court documents show he must stay employed under his plea agreement with the county.

Jamie Beck, Denton County’s first assistant district attorney, said Pricer also had to surrender his teaching license.

Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Lauren Callahan said Tuesday that Pricer’s certification does appear to still be valid until December 2016, but said his status is under investigation.

Pricer resigned his position at Guyer in November 2011, according to school officials.

“The Denton Independent School District holds our teachers and staff to high ethical standards,” district spokeswoman Sharon Cox said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “We have worked closely with police officials, as well as the Texas State Board of Educator Certification, since the incident involving former employee Michael Pricer was brought to the attention of school administrators.”

MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.