Jennifer Caswell a former Oklahoma middle school teacher has been left stunned after the 29 year old woman was sentenced to ten years prison for having sex with a 15 year old student in her classroom.
The Hollis Middle School teacher, who has since had her teaching credentials revoked and formally known by her married name Jennifer Saxon pleaded guilty in June to second degree rape and other related charges, a year after her arrest on suspicion of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
Things would take a twist when the former English teacher appeared on the Dr Phil show in May, claiming that she was ‘not a rapist’ while blaming the 15 year old student for ‘making the first move.’
Told the woman on the show: ‘I didn’t force anything. I didn’t manipulate. I didn’t take advantage.’
At the time Caswell admitted that she did not tell the student to stop what he was doing.
She said: ‘I kept on saying, ”No you know we can’t do this. No, no, no.”
‘He wasn’t forcing me, I mean, I couldn’t easily just walked out of my classroom, but I didn’t.
‘But I was resisting because I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t.’
On Wednesday, Harmon County District Judge Richard Darby sentenced Caswell to 15 years in prison, with five years suspended, for each of the six incidents involving sex with the teenager.
The sentences are to run concurrently, totaling 10 years behind bars for the 29-year-old divorced mother of one from Hollis.
Of debate was whether the Jennifer Caswell’s sentence was too harsh?
‘I can’t say that we had ever considered it being that harsh,‘ Caswell’s attorney, David Cummins, told NewsOK after the hearing.
Cummins said they had expected a maximum sentence of five years.
Caswell, who has a 6-year-old son, will only become eligible for parole in 8.5 years. After her release, she will be required to register as a sex offender.
Reacting to the sentencing, the victim’s mother said she feels the ‘disgraced‘ teacher’s punishment was fair. The mother also told that since the incident her son had become withdrawn and emotionally stunted after being sexually preyed on by the woman.
Caswell also faces a federal lawsuit filed by the victim’s father, a pastor, who accused the former teacher, the Hollis School District, Board of Education, district superintendent and school principal of covering up the sex crimes.
The father, whose lawsuit seeks $1million in damages, alleges that at least two people saw Caswell engaged in sexual acts with his son in her classroom.
After she resigned in April 2014, but was allowed to keep her teaching credentials, Caswell had sex with the boy in a vehicle, her house and the boy’s father’s house, according to prosecutors.
After the woman followed the 15-year-old 650 miles to Mississippi, where he had been sent to stay with his mother, the boy began cooperating with authorities.
The teacher in her defense previously claimed her failing marriage with her now ex-husband, as well as the culture in her small town, all contributed to the unlawful relationship.
Told the woman: ‘I felt very unwanted by my husband. I was with him for ten years and I was never complimented. We never held hands or were physical.’
The former English teacher said she was flattered and came to enjoy the attention, flirting and compliments she received from the student.