Before we dive into the story of 28-year-old teacher Brittni Colleps and the five students she's accused of having sex with, a disclaimer is in order. Any time a teacher takes advantage of a student, she (or he) deserves to be punished. It's an unconscionable betrayal of trust. And yet, there's a lot wrong with the way Colleps is being treated right now.
The former English teacher (yes, she lost her job over the allegations) at a Texas high school allegedly had sex with five different students in her home over the course of two months. All the kids were over 18. But now Colleps could spend 20 years in prison.
Twenty years? I get that what Colleps is accused of is wrong. If she's convicted, she most certainly should be punished. But the fact that these "kids" were all adult males can't be ignored. The threat of 20 years in prison brings a whiff of malicious prosecution to this whole case.
Let's put this in perspective, shall we?
Mary Kay Letourneau had numerous sexual encounters with her 13-year-old student, eventually bearing two of his children. She spent less than eight years in the slammer.
In June of this year, a man named Josh Boyd was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Earlier this year Boyd pleaded guilty to felony murder.
In 2011, a man named Terrence Sundsmo was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison. He'd been convicted of possessing more than 4,600 graphic images of child porn, including sadomasochistic imagery.
I'm not saying Brittni Colleps should get off. If she did the crime, she should do some time. But 20 years seems excessive. Here's hoping a judge errs on the side of sense (she could get as little as two).
What do you think would be an appropriate sentence here?
Image via cdsessums/Flickr