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story.lead_photo.caption Ashlyn Bell

NEW BOSTON, Texas — A former teacher's aide pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual misconduct with three male high school students and has asked that a jury decide her punishment.

Ashlyn Faye Bell, 24, entered guilty pleas Tuesday morning to two counts of improper relationship between educator and student involving two 17-year-old boys and a single count of sexual assault of a child involving a 16-year-old boy shortly before the process of selecting a jury to determine her sentence began.

Bell is accused of meeting boys she knew from her work at Texas High School for sexual encounters in the fall of 2019. The allegations were brought to the attention of law enforcement in 2020 after a teacher overheard a group of students talking about Bell. Bell was employed from Aug. 5, 2019, to May 22, 2020, as an instructional aide, according to a previous interview with a Texarkana, Texas, Independent School District official.

A jury of 12 women was chosen to serve in Bell's punishment-only trial. Bell faces two to 20 years on each count. If the jury sentences Bell to 10 or fewer years she may be eligible to receive a term of probation. For Bell to receive a probated sentence, the jury must find that she has never been previously convicted of a felony, sentence her to 10 years or less, and the jury must recommend probation.

Bell is represented by Texarkana lawyer Bruce Condit and New Boston lawyer Stephen Young. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards are prosecuting.

Opening statements and testimony in the sentencing trial are expected to begin Wednesday morning before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston.

Regardless of the sentence imposed, Bell is now required to register as a sex offender. As a sex offender and convicted felon, Bell is prohibited from working in a public school.

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