A Utah teacher has avoided any jail time despite admitting to having sex with a 17-year-old female student.
On Tuesday, a judge sentenced 23-year-old Courtney Louise Jarrell to 100 hours of community service, a year and a half of probation, and a $900 fine. The teacher faced up to three years in jail for three counts of sexual battery.
The teacher was originally looking at charges of rape and forcible sexual abuse but pled guilty to the lesser charges. Jarrell reportedly fondled and raped a 17-year-old student just eight months after getting her teaching job at Riverton High School.
The prosecutor, her attorney, and even the student had all asked the judge to keep Jarrell out of prison.
Since she pled to the lesser charges, she does not have to register as a sex offender but the judge did order her to give up her teaching license.
During the hearing, Jarrell told the court that “I’ve lost my teaching license and that was something that I worked really hard for and I’ve been punished throughout the year with different things. I’ll never be in a school again like that. I don’t even know if I can go on field trips with my nieces’ or nephews’ or kids’ schools and that’s really hard for me. I feel like it was a big deal for me to lose that.”
Jarrell’s attorney argued that the relationship between her and the 17-year-old student was “consensual” and that Jarrell told the student to wait until she was 18 to have sex.
“Ms. Jarrell is a good person and, as I indicated throughout this case, she fell in love with a student,” her lawyer Ken Brown said. “I don’t think she was abusing anyone’s trust.”