AFRICANGLOBE – A former substitute teacher in Louisiana who pleaded guilty to having sex with three boys will be spared jail time, thanks to a plea deal.
Heidi M. Verrett, 34, pleaded guilty on March 22 to three misdemeanor counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile after her 2016 arrest on charges of having sex with three 15- and 16-year-old boys at her home, the Houma Courier reported.
District Judge John Walker suspended Verrett’s extremely light six-month jail term following her guilty pleas, sentencing the former Terrebonne Parish substitute teacher and teacher’s aide to two years of unsupervised probation, along with $900 in fines.
The plea agreement also prohibits Verrett from teaching for two years, but prosecutors said she won’t be instructing students in Terrebonne Parish or other districts for the rest of her life.
“We have been assured she would never be able to teach in the school system again,” Terrebonne Parish Assistant District Attorney Dennis Elfert said. “From a legal standpoint, the maximum probationary period is two years, and that is the extent to which the probation can legally be bound.”
Regardless of those requirements, Elfert said prosecutors told relatives of the teen victims that Verrett would not be allowed to return to a classroom.
Verrett’s attorney, Teresa King, said her client was pleased with the outcome.
“She wanted to avoid the risk of jail time,” King told a local newspaper. “If we had gone to trial, there’s always that risk. So I think the deal was worked out in everyone’s best interest.”
Police in Houma said Verrett also had “inappropriate” discussions with a 12-year-old boy on social media.
Verrett was charged with having sex with the teens during a two-month period in late 2016, according to court records. As part of her plea deal, Verrett does not have to register as a sex offender.
And although Verrett’s employment will not be restricted once her probation expires, Elfert said it’s very unlikely she’d be hired by another district.
“Anybody who might want to hire this woman in the future, especially when it involves kids, is going to see that on her record,” Elfert told the Houma Courier. “I would suggest there won’t be many school systems at all that would hire her.”
By: Joshua Rhett Mille
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