Child pornography involving female student sends former KY teacher, coach to prison

A former Rowan County High School teacher and soccer coach was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 22 years in prison for production of child pornography, a news release said.

Andrew Zaheri, 40, of Morehead was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

According to a plea agreement, Zaheri began a sexual relationship in summer 2022 with a minor female student at the high school where he was employed as a teacher. The relationship continued through the school year and included Zaheri engaging in sexual acts with the victim during school hours. Zaheri admitted that during the course of the relationship, he produced sexually explicit images and videos of the minor victim using his cell phone, the news release said.

Under federal law, Zaheri must serve 85% of his sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 22 years.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Kentucky State Police.

Zaheri was originally arrested and charged in February 2023. He also faced several state charges related to his sexual relationship with the same female student, referred to as “Jane Doe” in civil court documents, the Herald-Leader previously reported.

Zaheri pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography charges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington in February.

According to court documents, Zaheri engaged in a sexual relationship with Jane Doe when she was 17.

“Zaheri admits that, during these sexual acts, he used the minor victim to create sexually explicit images and videos of the conduct,” the plea agreement said.

A hearing in Zaheri’s state criminal case involving Jane Doe is scheduled for July 19. Zaheri has been charged with more than a dozen charges of rape, sodomy and other charges in Rowan Circuit Court.

Additionally, Jane Doe and her family filed a civil lawsuit against Zaheri and various administrators at Rowan County schools.

The civil lawsuit alleges multiple school staff members were aware of the relationship between Zaheri and the teen girl but failed to report it to authorities or to the girl’s parents. A school counselor eventually heard about the relationship and called authorities in February 2023, according to the lawsuit.

That lawsuit is ongoing, according to court records.