Stephanie McCrea, a 36-year-old mother of a 9-year-old, who, until earlier this year, was a high school drama and English teacher in Washington State, found out last week how she'll be spending the next five years of her life. After spending the final month of 2014 having sex with a 15-year-old boy, who was a student at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington, McCrea will be going to jail.
McCrea was arrested on January 28, and in July this year entered a guilty plea to charges that she repeatedly engaged in sexual relations with the teen starting in December, as well as to one count of witness tampering — because she continued to communicate with the boy even after she knew she was under investigation for the sex crimes.
McCrea reportedly set up a Facebook page under a false identity to send messages to the victim, telling him what to say to investigators and urging him to deny everything when asked about their encounters by police. But the boy told the investigators about the illicit relationship anyway.
McCrea reportedly would meet the boy after drama class, as well as before school, when the illegal relationship began. She would perform oral sex on him during the initial encounters, according the police affidavit cited by The Columbian newspaper.
When the school went on winter vacation, McCrea escalated the relationship, engaging in sexual intercourse with the boy in her own home on one occasion, prior to a get-together of drama students, who were all going to a movie at a theater in town.
After the winter recess ended, McCrea engaged in sex with the teenager in her own school office, according to the allegations.
The boy told police, according to The Columbian, that the drama teacher told him that they should keep their relationship a secret until he turned 18-years-old, when their affair would become legal.
"She showed us after being caught she had no intention of stopping," the victim's mother said in court Wednesday, during McCrea's sentencing hearing
Prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over her sentence, with McCrea's lawyers saying that she merited a lighter sentence and mental health treatment, rather than a five-year trip to prison, because her offenses were "situational," and she shows no history of behaving as a sexual predator.
Her lawyer, Steve Thayer, said that McCrea has been experiencing mental health issues since an automobile accident in 2012 — an accident that he said injured her brain. He called her sexual relationship with the underage student "completely out of character."
But prosecutors weren't buying it, saying that Thayer could not simultaneously ask for McCrea to receive a light sentence while also arguing that the former teacher suffered from some sort of mental disability that would presumably make her a danger to other young people.
McRea was immediately placed on administrative leave when Evergreen High School found out that she was under investigation back in January. The school sent a letter to parents when she was arrested later in January, saying that when Stephanie McCrea was hired in 2006, she passed all of the required background checks.
McCrea, at her hearing on Wednesday, read a written statement apologizing for her actions.
"I take full responsibility for my actions. Every day I feel the pain of knowing I've hurt many people with my choices.But the victim's mother wasn't sold on McCrea's expression of remorse, saying that the teacher had lied to her face.
"I profoundly regret the hurt I've caused."
"I had conversations with her, which she lied to me about what they were going to be doing. And I of course automatically trusted because of her being a teacher, which is a life lesson for me as well," said the mom in court, as reported by KPTV News.
Stephanie McCrea was sentenced to five years behind bars, but has one more court date on October 16 to receive her formal sentence.
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