A former “Teacher of the Year” in Florida has been sentenced to 38 years behind bars on nine counts of sex abuse involving a then-12-year-old boy.
She had previously been convicted after a jury trial in September and was awaiting sentencing by a judge.
The teacher, identified in multiple media accounts as Ethel Anderson, 31, was tutoring the boy in her home when the sexual acts allegedly occurred between December 2011 and February 2012. Anderson, who had been named a Teacher of the Year in 2011 when she taught fifth grade at Mango Elementary School in the Tampa area, denied all the charges. Her lawyer plans an appeal of the sentence.
The teacher is married with one young daughter and apparently had turned down a plea bargain for a 15-year jail term.
Authorities compiled some extensive evidence that established an improper relationship of some kind between them. “Prosecutors say Anderson lured a 12-year-old boy into a sexual affair using text messages. They presented more than 230 pages of text messages between Anderson and the victim.”
Anderson claimed the text messages were a form of therapy.
The male victim also testified during the trial and detailed the alleged sexual contact.
The victim’s family contacted police when they became suspicious about the relationship. The boy’s subsequently mother confronted the teacher while wearing police surveillance equipment. “Wearing a wire, the boy’s mother later confronted Anderson, when she admitted having oral sex with him. The tape was played to the jury. In her testimony, Anderson testified she only admitted to sex acts in the secretly-recorded confession by the boy’s mother, only because that is what she thought the mother wanted to hear.”
In sentencing Anderson to nearly 40 years in prison, Hillborough County Judge Chet Tharpe deemed her “a parent’s worst nightmare,” and added “There are those that believe that nothing’s wrong if the defendant is a woman and the victim is a male. This court does not recognize gender. If it’s proven, as an adult, that you had sex with a child, you can expect to go to prison.”
In a letter to the court, the boy’s mother said in part that the teacher stole her son’s innocence and “It tears me up to know that his first sexual experiences in life were with you Ethel Anderson a predator…”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, a Teacher of the Year in California was accused of allegedly having sex with a minor student.
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