UPDATE: Judge rejects guilty plea of former PikeView teacher - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Judge rejects guilty plea of former PikeView teacher

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Jonathan Kirk, center; photo by Paul Hess Jonathan Kirk, center; photo by Paul Hess

PRINCETON (WVVA) - A Mercer County judge on Friday rejected a former teacher's guilty plea to sex crimes against students, instead sending the case to trial.

Jonathan Kirk was in court Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty in November 2013 to one count of sexual abuse and six counts of displaying obscene material to minors.

Judge William Sadler however, chose not to accept the plea agreement, instead scheduling an April trial.

Sadler cited a pre-sentencing investigation and sex offender evaluation that did not address Kirk's position as a person of trust.

Kirk would have been sentenced to 20 years on the previous plea, he will now face more than 100 years behind bars if found guilty at trial.

Following Kirk's guilty plea in November, victims who spoke to WVVA News expressed disappointment in the plea agreement, saying they felt Kirk was getting off easy by avoiding trial.

Read more: Victims not happy with plea deal

Kirk was arrested in March 2013 after sexual misconduct involving students at PikeView High School, where he worked as a teacher and coach.

Investigators said Kirk inappropriately touched a female student, and showed photos of his genitals to female students.

The previous plea deal applied only to seven victims, but Assistant Prosecutor George Sitler told WVVA News in November that there may have been as many as 12 victims.

WVVA's Paul Hess was in the courtroom and will have reaction to the day's events later on WVVA.com and WVVA News at 5 and 6.

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