A Kennewick middle school teacher who received lascivious messages and videos from a student said they left her feeling reduced from “a highly educated individual to a sex object.”
The woman was not in court Wednesday as the 14-year-old boy was taken into custody to serve 10 days in juvenile detention.
The boy previously pleaded guilty in Benton County Juvenile Court to dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and cyberstalking.
Court Commissioner Jerri Potts granted the boy’s request for a Special Sex Offender Disposition Alternative, meaning he will do two years of probation focused on sex offender therapy and will have to register as a sex offender.
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If he violates any of his probation requirements, he can be pulled back into Benton County Juvenile Court and ordered to serve the remaining 80 days of his suspended sentence.
Defense attorney Laura Mapes said when her client initially came in to court, he was “naturally feeling embarrassed about it.”
He now understands that his actions were inappropriate, and that he needs help, she said.
“At first I didn’t think through it, but now that I’m going through this I regret what I’ve done because it is not a normal thing for a teenager to do,” the boy told Potts.
At first I didn’t think through it, but now that I’m going through this I regret what I’ve done because it is not a normal thing for a teenager to do.
Kennewick teen convicted of sending lascivious messages, videos
The boy was 13 when he sent 15 messages through Facebook, according to court documents. He used his first name to identify himself to his former teacher, and included his cellphone as a contact number.
He tried to get the teacher’s attention by attaching naked pictures and videos of himself, including one showing a lewd sex act with a dog, documents said.
The teacher rarely checked her personal social media page, so she didn’t see the messages until late last year. She contacted Kennewick police and said she had not watched the videos.
In the letter read Wednesday by Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Miller, the teacher talked about facing dozens of students every day — half of them boys — and wondering if there is anything she could have done to prevent this teen’s actions.
This mistake doesn’t have to define you if you do the work it will take to change your perspective.
Kennewick middle school teacher
She said she has struggled to erase the graphic messages from her mind, was fearful that the boy eventually might take action, and “finally accepted reality that I had been violated as both a caring teacher and a woman.”
The teacher said she hopes the boy sees this criminal case as a reality check. “This mistake doesn’t have to define you if you do the work it will take to change your perspective,” she wrote.
Potts agreed with the teacher that the teen showed bad judgment, and said he must engage in the program and not “just go through the motions” to get it done.
The judge said therapy had better change his attitude toward women and sex, otherwise he could be in and out of the court system for the rest of his life.