Redlands teacher sentenced in sex case; victim opposes plea deal


Laura Whitehurst, 28, was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation for six counts of unlawful sex with a child. She must register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Whitehurst had been facing 41 counts, but that figure was reduced due to the plea agreement.

Prior to her sentencing, the courtroom heard from the victim and his mother. Both asked the judge not to grant Whitehurst the plea deal.

The victim told the court that Whitehurst, with whom he fathered a child, manipulated and preyed on him. He said while the former Redlands teacher did not force him, it was her responsibility to discourage their relationship.

The victim's mother told the court, through a letter read by her daughter, that Whitehurst robbed her child of his innocence, and her actions forced her son to become a father.

"No parent should ever have to experience what I have experienced. No child should ever be victimized by his teacher. And, no teacher should ever think it is okay to have sex with her student," wrote the mother of "John Doe."

Prior to Wednesday, both the victim and his mother had been in agreement with the district attorney's plea deal.

"I respect the rights of the victims and their right to change their position on things and voice that publically," said San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez.

The defense, however, felt the change of heart was not genuine.

"I would suggest that the statement the mother read was not written by the mother. It was written by some attorney who intends to file a civil suit and try and get some of the taxpayers' money from the school district in Redlands," said James Gass, Whitehurst's defense attorney.

Whitehurst's parents were also in court. Her defense attorney said the Whitehursts are caring for their grandchild.

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