A Michigan judge sentenced a former middle school teacher, who admitted to having sex with one of her students, to at least seven and a half years in prison Monday.
Bay County Chief Circuit Judge Kenneth W. Schmidt said Sarah Raymo violated the trust placed in her by the community when she had sex with the eighth-grade student. Her sentence could include an additional seven and a half years, for a total of 15 years behind bars, according to MLive.com.
“The victim has been greatly impacted by this. He switched schools and is seeking therapy,” Schmidt said as he explained his use of the sentencing guidelines. “Taking everything into consideration and including the fact that you violated the trust placed in you as a teacher of students, particularly the age of these students — we're talking about eighth grade — the higher end of the guidelines is appropriate.”
Bay City Public Schools superintendent, Douglas Newcombe, said school officials became aware of the relationship between Raymo and the student in January. She was arrested later that month.
The victim, who has not been named, testified in a preliminary hearing that he and Raymo had sex, six to eight times, in both her classroom and at her home.
In a September plea deal, Raymo pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. In exchange for the pleas, prosecutors dropped four of the more serious charges against her, according to WNEM.
In court Monday, her attorney, Matthew Reyes, maneuvered at the last minute to try and get a reduced sentence for his client.
“Ms. Raymo has done a very bad thing. She certainly understands that. She knows that,” he told the judge.
Reyes pointed out that his client had no prior criminal record and that her victim made the first flirtatious sexual advances toward her. Those came in the form of communications through a classroom journal and eventually led to text messages between the teacher and the student, Reyes said.
“I acknowledge that the victim is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse, but the victim is not incapable of initiating sexual conversations,” he argued.
“That doesn't excuse Ms. Raymo from engaging in the activity that she did, but we ask that the court take all of those things into consideration,” Reyes said, summarizing his argument before the judge.
But Schmidt wasn’t swayed by the argument, a decision that Chief Assistant Prosecutor Nancy E. Borushko said she agrees with.
“This crime is a crime of selfishness and a betrayal of trust... she used a student and she used a child to satisfy whatever selfish needs or issues that she was trying to address,” Borushko said in a statement Monday. “I think it's important not only to the parents, but to the victim in this case, and the community at large that when you betray trust in this fashion that there should be a severe penalty.”
Photo Source: WNEM