Ex-teacher convicted of student sex charges released from jail early
A former Redlands schoolteacher convicted of having sex with three of her students, and who gave birth to a child fathered by one of the teens, has been released from San Bernardino County jail after serving six months of her one-year sentence.
Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 29, was released Jan.5, according to jail records. In addition to wearing a GPS monitor, Whitehurst is required to register as a sex offender. Whitehurst was sentenced under a plea deal reached with the San Bernardino district attorney’s office that resulted in her 41 felony charges reduced to six. She had faced up to 29 years in prison.
Whitehurst must remain on probation for five years and undergo counseling. If she violates the terms of probation, she could spend more than six years in prison.
After Whitehurst was arrested in July 2013, she pleaded guilty to engaging in sex acts with three boys while teaching at Citrus Valley and Redlands high schools. She also pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.
San Bernardino County Judge Arthur Harrison agreed to the plea despite objections from the victims and their families. The father of Whitehurst’s child, who was 16 at the time, asked Harrison to reject the deal, saying he had been subject to manipulation and countless sexual assaults.
“Physically, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the manipulation I was subjected to,” said the teen father of her child. “Physically sick that I was not the only victim. Physically sick that I am one of the very few here today putting a voice and face to the destruction Ms. Whitehurst has caused.
“And physically sick that Ms. Whitehurst is facing minimal consequences for her stomach-turning violations of me and other boys,” he continued.
He said Whitehurst gave him alcohol and told him it was a “miracle pregnancy” because she did not believe she could get pregnant. She even gave him a Bible on his 17th birthday and would take him to church, he said.
“I am sure that a male teacher who had sexual relationships with at least three of his students, varying in age from 14 to 17, one of which resulted in pregnancy, would be condemned in the public eye and similarly in this court,” the teen stated. “I do not know what justice is in this matter, but I do know that it is not the current plea agreement.”
But the judge, despite saying Whitehurst “grossly violated her duty as a teacher,” allowed the plea to stand and sentenced her to a year in jail and five years’ probation.
The boy who fathered Whitehurst’s baby said the relationship lasted more than a year. Redlands detectives had the boy call the AP English teacher and listened in so they could gather evidence that she had sex with the minor repeatedly.
Later, during questioning by detectives, Whitehurst admitted having sex with the boy numerous times, police said. She told investigators they began having sex at her apartment in 2012 after a trip to Disneyland.
The sexual relationship continued after she became pregnant in September 2012, and the boy was present when she gave birth to the child on June 18, according to a search warrant.
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