Attorney David Chesley's Criminal Defense Blog

High School Teacher Facing One Year in Jail After Pleading Guilty to Six Counts of Sex Crimes

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Elizabeth Whitehurst at her trial in San Bernardino County

A former High school teacher is facing a year in jail after she plead guilty to sex crimes she committed with three of her students. Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 28, faced 41 felony counts of sex crimes, on Wednesday she plead guilty to two counts for oral copulation and four counts for unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18 in a San Bernardino County courtroom.

Whitehurst has been placed on five years’ probation, she must register as a sex offender for life, and must undergo counseling in addition to her jail sentence. San Bernardino County district attorney spokesman Christopher Lee said that Whitehurst will serve her time in a county jail, but could be moved to a state prison is she violates her parole.

Arrested on the 1st of July, Whitehurst was under suspicion of repeatedly having sexual intercourse with one of her students from Citrus Valley High School.  The mother of a now 17 year old student who Whitehurst had an ongoing relationship with contacted her local police department after finding out about the yearlong affair between her son and his teacher, and the fact that Whitehurst had become pregnant with the child of her son.

Once she was arrested, Whitehurst said the she was a “clean-cut American girl” who made a mistake, but soon after her arrest, two more students stepped forward claiming they had a sexual relationship with their teacher. One boy was 14 during the time of their relationship, and the other boy was 16.

Reports show that she began to have sex with the father of her child right after a class trip to Disneyland in 2012. Whitehurst’s attorney James Gass has told reporters that his client wants to retain custody of the child she gave birth to on the 18th of June.

Attorney Heather Cullen, whose firm represented the family of the father of Whitehurst’s child said this in regard to the sentencing that Whitehurst received “This is a very short sentence for such crime, it’s shocking anyone would face so little time for abusing minors. This is definitely being treated differently because they are boys and she is a woman”

Legal experts claim that much longer sentences are typically handed out to educators convicted of sex crimes with students. A former Los Angeles County sex crime prosecutor, Dmitry Gorin said that typically this offense is sentenced with two or more year in a state prison, but he believes prosecutors could be mitigating information about her mental health and the victim’s position.

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