Jessie Lorene Goline was accused of having sex with four different high school students — including two in one night — but the 26-year-old teacher managed to avoid any prison time after a controversial decision this week.
The Arkansas teacher had previously been arrested on allegations that she sought out relationships with a series of her students at Marked Tree High School and one from another district, the New York Post reported. But she took a plea deal this week that would sentence her to 42 months of probation — and no jail time.
Goline’s case first made headlines after her arrest in 2017. As the Washington Post reported at the time, the art teacher had started to reach out to some of her students via text and gradually the conversations became more sexual. Goline later started to invite the boys to her apartment for sex, including two separate encounters with different boys in the same night. One of the boys was underage.
As the boys began to talk about their encounters, word began to circulate around school, the report noted. When a gym teacher overheard a parent threatening physical harm to a teacher who allegedly slept with their son, he alerted the district superintendent. At the same time, Goline went into the principal’s office crying and reportedly confessed to the relationships.
Jessie Lorene Goline had originally faced up to 30 years in prison for the charges, but ultimately received a much lighter sentence after pleading guilty to a single charge of sexual indecency with a child. Only one of the victims was underage, the New York Post noted, but the boy had reportedly told Goline he was 18.
That decision was met with some controversy, as many noted the leniency of the sentence. Others commented that Goline appeared to get off lightly because she is a woman, and wondered what a male teacher would have received under similar circumstances.
There are still more consequences for Jessie Lorene Goline beyond her probation, the New York Post noted. She will be forced to register as a sex offender, and lost her teaching job after having been placed on administrative leave.