Mon, Jul 16, 2012
A 42-year-old teacher has been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to having sex with seven of her students.
Cindy Clifton had faced more charges than any other teacher involved in sex crimes against under age victims.
The married mother of two was charged with a total of 53 counts, including statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after her arrest last year for allegedly victimizing a total of 11 boys.
But after striking a deal with prosecutors she pleaded guilty at a court in Covington, Tennessee, to a total of 15 counts, including aggravated statutory rape by authority figure.
The court heard Clifton had sex with seven of her students between April and July in 2011. Her victims were aged between 14 and 17.
Investigators said the popular Middle School teacher plied the teens with alcohol and then had sex with them in her home.
Many of the students are thought to have been friends of her teenage daughter, who attended the alcohol fueled parties.
Clifton’s victims were all from the Crestview Middle School where she was a reading teacher.
As part of the plea deal Clifton, a teacher for 20 years, also pleaded guilty to furnishing four teens with alcohol.
Clifton will also serve eight years probation on her release from prison.
Prosecutors said the plea deal spared her victims the ordeal of giving evidence.
‘Our overriding concern as prosecutors was to protect and shield the victims enduring what would have been a very public trial, being victimized all over again,’ said district attorney Mike Dunavant.
In an interview with WMCTV, Clifton’s husband said the worst part of his ordeal is having to tell his daughters their mother is in jail.
An aunt of one of the teenage victims told the TV station that Clifton preyed on the boys, offering them lifts home.
‘They were adolescent boys. Most of these guys were friends,’ the woman said.
The family member said one of the hardest parts of the teacher sex crimes was getting people to take the allegations seriously.
‘When they find out what’s going on they say oh that’s just a boy being a boy but I guarantee you if it was someone’s 12 year old daughter and a 41 year old man, I mean that’s just stomach churning and disgusting,’ the woman said.