Did a Teacher Caught Up in a Student Sex Scandal Get a Lighter Sentence Because She Brought Up God?

A little more than two years ago, a teacher in a district very close to mine was charged with “aggravated criminal sexual abuse” when she was caught with a 16-year-old male student inside a car at night behind a department store.

Take the fact that she’s attractive, throw in society’s double standards, and you can guess the kind of attention this scandal received.

I bring this up now because the teacher just got sentenced — “two years of probation and 30 days in jail.” There’s a separate discussion to be had about the (lack of) weight of that sentence, but articles mentioned a letter she wrote to everyone involved in her fiasco — I’m not sure if it was voluntary or not — in which she apologized for everything she did.

Part of the letter, written in January before her sentencing, included an update on her life and how she’s changed for the better:

[The teacher] said she has been working as a bank teller, that she bought a house, began dating a church-going man, and that, “most importantly,” she found God again.

I realize I’m taking a story that has nothing to do with me and making it all about my own views… but whatever. I’m offended by the implication of what she was saying.

As if believing in God makes her a better person.

As if her godlessness (or passive religiosity) was part of the reason she made an awful decision in the first place.

Can you just imagine how that would have looked the other way around?

[The teacher] said she has been working as a bank teller, that she bought a house, began dating a a godless man, and that, “most importantly,” she lost her faith.

It would never happen. No doubt her lawyers would have advised her against it.

And now I’m left wondering whether the sentence would have been harsher if she admitted to the judge that she had become an atheist over the past two years.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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