ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A former Union Local teacher has entered a negotiated plea in the Belmont County Common Pleas Court to a fourth-degree felony stemming from an alleged sexual encounter with a student.

Tiffany Ann Cordes, 27, Cadiz, pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition Tuesday to avoid a jury trial scheduled to begin today. She was initially indicted on one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, for the alleged sexual contact with an 18-year-old male student at an off-campus location.

Cordes was indicted on the sexual battery charge on April 6, according to the court’s website. The offense is alleged to have occurred in February.

Cordes faced a maximum of five years in prison on the initial indictment but now faces up to 18 months in prison when sentenced on Oct. 27. She also faces a sexual offender registration requirement when sentenced by Judge Frank Fregiato. 

Cordes was been banned from having intentional contact with the male victim or Union Local High School students. The charge against Cordes is based on her position of authority with students.

The incident reportedly occurred in the victim’s truck while the pair was picking up materials to construct backdrops for the Union Local prom. The investigation that led to the felony charge against Cordes reportedly began after the mother of another Union Local student alerted authorities.

Cordes’ teaching license may be revoked by the State of Ohio.