A former high school teacher in Anne Arundel County has been sentenced to seven years in prison for having sex with three students.

Jeffrey R. Sears, who taught English at Glen Burnie High School, was sentenced Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

The Annapolis Capital reports that one of Sears’s former students told him at the hearing that he manipulated her and preyed on her. A prosecutor read aloud a letter from another victim.

Sears entered an Alford plea this month, in which a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there’s enough evidence for a conviction. His lawyer says he accepts responsibility, and Sears also apologized in court.

The sexual abuse occurred over a two-year period and involved students who were 16 and 17 at the time.