A Crawford High School teacher and coach who carried on a six-month sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male student was sentenced Friday to a two-year prison term.
Toni Nicole Sutton, 38, pleaded guilty last month to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and oral copulation with a minor. Sutton must register as a sex offender for life, said Superior Court Judge Daniel Link.
The relationship between Sutton and the boy started last summer, said Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner. The two had sex in the classroom, her car, and at her home, the prosecutor said.
Link said a teacher’s job is to educate students, teach them and mentor them, but Sutton did the “exact opposite.”
“You desecrated the sanctity of the classroom,” the judge told the weeping defendant.
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said Sutton has suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse in her life and was mentally abused by her ex- boyfriend.
Armstrong described Sutton’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend as “toxic.”
Sutton has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and has a “great need to be liked and loved,” her attorney told the judge.
The defendant told the judge that her relationship with her student — who’s now 16 — is one that she will always regret.
“I’m so ashamed of what I’ve done,” Sutton told the judge.
The victim’s mother, identified in court as Loretta, read a letter from her son in which he said he doesn’t know whether to be angry or sad.
“My whole life has been turned upside down,” the victim said in the letter. “She (Sutton) was my first … and she broke my heart. I just want my life back.”
Loretta said Sutton — a Spanish teacher and volleyball coach — took away her child’s innocence.
The mother said she saw graphic messages to her son from the defendant and called police.
Link said the case was “different,” in part because of the significant age difference between the defendant and the victim.
–City News Service