These days our criminal courts are filled with cases ranging from petty theft and vandalism to drug sales, grand larceny and first-degree murder. While society holds little affection for those convicted of most any crime, it holds particular disdain for offenses involving criminal sexual behavior.
As a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer, I know first-hand the lengths that law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys will go to arrest and convict an individual accused of a sex crime. The disheartening aspect of all this is that even being accused of sexual abuse can ruin a person’s reputation for many years to come.
In sex cases involving children, the authorities are very aggressive in their pursuit of justice. A recent case concerning an elementary school teacher’s involvement in the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl is an example of the seriousness of these types of charges.
According to news articles, Jessica Heather Defoor was sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison for her part in the enticing of a child for sexual purposes. The offense, a Class C felony, meant that the woman was ordered by the court to serve two years in prison, while being subject to another four years in jail should she violate her probation following her release.
Based on court records, the Danville Neel Elementary School teacher will be subject to five years of supervised probation once she gets out of jail. In addition, Defoor was sentenced to 12 months for a Class A misdemeanor of second-degree sexual abuse, which was set to run concurrent with the other sentence. Once back in society she will be required under law to register as a convicted sex offender.
News reports stated that Defoor admitted to taking a 14-year-old girl to music concerts while providing her with alcohol. She also admitted that the girl was in her home on a February 2006 evening, at which time the child was served alcohol. Most damning was the teacher’s reported admission that she invited the youngster to engaged in sexual relations her and a male guest while at the teacher’s home that same evening. The girl stated that she didn’t participate, but was in the room while the defendant had sex.
The crime was uncovered by authorities when the teenager shared the information with another teacher, after which school officials contacted police regarding the matter. Attorney General King’s Family Protection Unit presented evidence to a Morgan County grand jury, resulting in Defoor’s indictment on July 23, 2009.
News reports indicate that Defoor, who will appeal her conviction, most likely will remain on administrative leave with pay from her elementary school job in Danville.
Judge sentences Morgan County teacher convicted of sex crimes, WAFF.com, March 30, 2010