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Mother of 3 Sentenced for Sex With Minor

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A mother of three was sentenced to 89 days in jail on Friday after pleading guilty to having sex on three occasions with a 13-year-old boy who attended the Santa Ana school where she coached cheerleading.

Heather Jean Graham, 35, must register as a sex offender and is prohibited from having any contact with minors unless accompanied by another adult, according to the terms of the sentence imposed by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory H. Lewis.

The judge called the penalty a “fair and accurate conclusion” and warned Graham that she faces up to 12 years in prison on the three felony counts if she violates the five-year probation.

Under terms of the sentence, Graham must also submit to psychiatric counseling and cannot initiate any contact with the boy.

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“It is severe, and it is extensive,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy. “She’s on the hook for five years, which as a former PTA president, is quite a fall from grace.”

Graham, who was formally attired in a black business suit and accompanied by her husband and two of her children, declined to comment. As the family left the courthouse, they walked close together, holding hands.

Graham’s attorney, John Barnett, called the sentence “appropriate.”

Graham was arrested in November after a monthlong investigation by Santa Ana police. She admitted to having had sex with the eighth-grader in June, September and November of 1998. She met the boy, a student at Willard Intermediate School, while she was a parent volunteer for the school’s cheerleading squad.

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It is unclear the nature of the sex acts. Murphy declined to be specific, and the judge sealed many of the court documents.

The boy’s attorney, Tim Swift, said the sentence fit the crime, noting that the rehabilitation program imposed by the judge included psychotherapy.

“What she did was very, very wrong and very, very harmful,” he said.

Graham, of Santa Ana, was an active parent volunteer who helped out during band practice, fund-raisers and other school events.

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Graham is scheduled to begin her sentence March 11.


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