A judge called a former Mango Elementary School teacher a “parent’s worst nightmare” while ordering her to 38 years in prison for having sex with a 12-year-old student.
Despite a plea for mercy from Ethel Anderson, Judge Chet Tharpe showed her no mercy during a sentencing hearing Monday.
“You groomed him for over a period of time until you were satisfied that you could violate him in the most vile, and horrible ways in order to satisfy your own deviant desires,” the judge said.
On Sept. 18, a jury of three men and three women deliberated less than three hours and found Anderson, 31, guilty of molesting the boy, who she was tutoring in math. Evidence included hundreds of text messages between the pair talking about what they had done. Anderson testified it was a form of “sexual therapy.”
Anderson begged Tharpe for a light sentence, showing concern for her 6-year-old daughter, saying she was not a sexual predator, and admitting shame and embarrassment.
“I’m a mother, I’m not a monster. I truly wish that none of this had ever happened because all I want to to go back to being” a mom, she said while weeping. “There must be something in me that shows I’m worthy of mercy.”
The boy, now 14, and his mother attended the hearing but did not speak. However, a statement by the mother was read by prosecutors to the court, noting that her son’s “innocence is lost forever.”
“It tears me up to know that his first sexual experiences in life were with you Ethel Anderson, a predator,” the statement said. “There were many times during this trial I wish I could have gotten up from my seat to scream, yell or slap you. I feel like I could tear you apart with my bare hands, but those that know me know that I would never do that.”
The boy testified during the trial that Anderson was tutoring him in December 2011 when she started making advances toward him. Over the next few months, the boy said, that led to her fondling him, her performing oral sex on him and the pair simulating sex acts while dressed.
Anderson, of Riverview, was found guilty of three counts of lewd and lascivious battery, four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. She faced a possible 135-year sentence.
Her attorney said the sentence will be appealed.
Anderson was suspended without pay from her job at Mango Elementary after her arrest in March 2012. Before her career foundered in scandal, she had been a rising star, being given the school’s Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year award in 2011.