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Former Redlands teacher pleads guilty to teen sex charges

July 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Redlands teacher who allegedly gave birth to her student's baby reached a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges she had sex with a minor.

Laura Whitehurst, 28, stood shackled in a San Bernardino courtroom and pleaded guilty to six counts of felony sex charges.

Under the deal, Whitehurst will receive one year in jail and must register as a sex offender for life. She will also be under probation for five years, and she will have to forfeit her teaching credentials.

"We talked to the victims in the case to find out what they would like to see happen in the case, and the victims in the case move forward with their lives," said Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez.

Whitehurst avoids the possibility of nearly three decades in prison had she been convicted. Prosecutors say the plea deal does not give her immunity if any future victims come forward.

The former Citrus Valley High and Redlands High teacher had been charged with 41 felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and oral copulation with a minor under the age of 18.

"She made some big mistakes, there are serious consequences, and she's going to pay them," said Whitehurst's attorney James Gass.

But he maintains his client wasn't alone in committing the acts.

"She was not charged with doing anything against anyone's will or by force," Gass said.

Earlier this month, Whitehurst was arrested shortly after giving to a baby girl allegedly fathered by a former student at Citrus Valley High School. The 17-year-old student was 16 during the time of their alleged relationship, which lasted a year, according to police.

Following her arrest, two other victims came forward saying they too had a relationship with Whitehurst while students.

The judge ordered Whitehurst to stay away from the 17-year-old. The formal sentencing will be on Aug. 28.


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