A judge sentenced Florida teacher Jennifer Fichter to 22 years in prison for having sex with three of her students.
Fichter, who pleaded guilty in April to 37 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, admitted to having sex with three of her 17-year-old students, one of which resulted in a pregnancy that she terminated.
“I hate what I have done,” Fichter said on July 1, apologizing to the victims’ families and begging the judge for forgiveness. “I wish I could go back and think about them (the victims) before me. But I can't, I can't do that ... I wish I could take it back, and my words are not going to suffice, I know that.”
The Daily Mail reported that Fichter, a former teacher at Central Florida Aerospace Academy, previously rejected the prosecution’s plea deal, presumably to try for a more lenient sentence in court. The judge did not appear to grant what she was looking for but said that he did take into account that there were multiple victims, and that her relationships may have overlapped.
The maximum sentence would have been 15 years per victim, so the 30-year-old could have faced up to 45 years in prison.
“You’re going to have a long time to think about what you did,” the judge told Fichter. “I trust that your faith is real, and you’ll have a long time to let your faith work in your life so that when you come out you’re a different person,” he said, reported WPTV 5.
He added, “It bothered me that there was references to that faith and yet there was this activity.”
Lakeland, Florida, police arrested Fichter in April 2014, after she admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old. They allegedly had sex 20 to 30 times in her truck in various parking lots in the area.
The teenager’s mother discovered their relationship on Jan. 27, 2014. Fichter was arrested shortly after, and two more students came forward around this time, reports the Daily Mail.
“I hate what you've gone though because of my actions,” she told her victims, with tears in her eyes. “If you hate me, I understand.”