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Church State Issues

20 years in prison for consensual sex???

Jan 6, 2015

Arizona Republic

Sounds a bit draconian if you ask me.

Let's see, at a $50,000 a year cost to jail an inmate that prison sentence is going to cost the taxpayers of Arizona $1 million.

While I certainly don't think it's a good idea for high school teachers to have consensual sex with their students it probably shouldn't be a crime that you can get life in prison for as this guy effectively is getting.


Former Phoenix teacher sentenced to 20 years for sex with student

Phoenix physical education teacher was sentenced to 20 years in prison, almost nine years after the crime took place.

Paige Shacklett, The Republic | azcentral.com 1:26 p.m. MST January 6, 2015

A former Phoenix physical-education teacher was sentenced to 20 years in prison with lifetime probation for engaging in sexual conduct with a female student following a hearing Tuesday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Nicole Wooten pleaded guilty earlier this year to a series of sex charges related to her abuse of a 14-year-old student between April and October of 2006, court documents state.

The victim spoke at Wooten's sentencing, explaining to Judge Sherry Stephens that her childhood innocence had been stripped away by Wooten, whom the girl once considered a role model.

"Nicole robbed my childhood away and because of that I had to grow up faster and not enjoy my teenage years," said the victim, who is now married.

The victim, who was 14 years old at the time of the crimes, said she was initially afraid to speak out against Wooten and said she kept the incident a secret for more than six years until November 2012, when she informed officers, police records show.

"As I grew closer and closer to her, the relationship seemed OK," the victim told the court on Tuesday morning. "Nicole pressed me to not tell anyone because she would be in really big trouble and I kept my words for about six years."

State prosecutor Ryan Powell said the incident occurred when the victim was transitioning from middle school to high school, a confusing time for most students.

"To have a trusted teacher come into the situation and turn that situation into a way for her to get her own sexual gratification from a child is just wrong and disturbing," Powell said.

Wooten's defense attorney argued for a mitigated sentence based on Wooten's acceptance of the consequences from her actions, her accomplishments in higher education, lack of a criminal history and an abusive childhood, among other factors.

Diane Slack, Wooten's friend of almost 15 years, said that aside from this incident, Wooten's character is spotless and her fault is being too trustworthy of people and kind-hearted.

"She always took responsibility for what she did and she is extremely remorseful," Slack said. "I don't condone her actions, I don't think that it was right, but who on earth hasn't made mistakes?"

Wooten was in custody for the hearing Tuesday morning, wearing her hair in a long, brown ponytail and donning the black-and-white inmate jumpsuit. She did not speak on her own behalf but instead wrote a letter to the court that Stephens read silently on the bench before delivering the sentence.

Wooten was a physical-education teacher at Herrera Elementary School in Phoenix for 13 years before her arrest in February 2013.