Livingston, Texas, February 19, 2010: Jennifer Hudspeth listens to testimony with her defense attorney.
Former Corrigan Teacher Gets 10 Years Probation for Online Solicitation to a Minor, LIVINGSTON, February 19, 2010 - On February 19, 2010, 411th District Court Judge Robert H. Trapp sentenced Corrigan High School Teacher Jennifer Hudspeth, 37, of Corrigan, to ten years probation for online solicitation of a minor.
In 2008, Hudspeth, then employed as an elementary school teacher in Corrigan, began to text message three teenage boys ranging in age from 14 to 16. The text messages were sexually explicit and at least one contained a nude photograph of Hudspeth. When the parents of the boys discovered the texting relationship it was reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Craig Finegan was assigned to investigate. Finegan and Mark Jones, a felony investigator with the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, confronted Hudspeth with the allegations and Hudspeth admitted to the inappropriate and illegal contact she had with the three underage boys.
On October 30, 2009, Hudspeth was indicted by the Polk County Grand Jury with five counts of online solicitation of a minor. On January 25, 2010, Hudspeth pleaded guilty to two counts of the indictment and a sentencing hearing was set for February 19, 2010. At that hearing witnesses on behalf of the state testified as to the effects the crime had on the families of the victims. Witnesses on behalf of Hudspeth testified she was a good person who had been punished enough for the "mistake" she made. Hudspeth's mother (Connie Lawson) said that Jennifer was "...an excellent child and mindful". Lawson also stated of her daughter's marriage there was "...a lot of unhappiness" and that her daughter's marriage "was not good". Lawson further stated that her daughter has " been on anti depressant medication and anxiety pills. She goes into crying rages, that's why she's lost 25 pounds". Regina Locke (whose 14 year old son received some of the messages) was visibly shaken on the witness stand. "She sent sexually explicit messages to my 14 year old son" she said. She continued "I found out by checking his cell phone". Locke's voice began cracking as she recounted when she confronted her son about it, "He cried so hard that he couldn't hold his head up", she said. When asked about how it affected her relationship with her son, Locke could hardly talk from fighting back tears and said "It's been 18 months of pure hell". She also stated that he felt ashamed and that he felt he had let his parents down. "I always thought she was a great teacher"..."She needs to be punished for what she did". When asked if she thought Hudspeth deserved jail time Locke stated: "It'll take more than jail time to re-habilitate her, she deserves to go to jail".
Livingston, Texas, February 17, 2010: Defendant Jennifer Hudspeth takes the witness stand during the punishment proceedings in Judge Robert H. Trapp's District Court.
Other witnesses who took the stand:
Karen Hooks (son received explicit cell phone messages from Hudspeth) - "I couldn't believe it...I really couldn't"..." I loved her like a friend"..."She's going through more torture than any of us could go through"..."I don't think she should to to jail...no"..."She needs counseling, she needs any help we can give her, it's not a violent crime".
John Saxton, Polk County Probation Officer - "She had low self esteem"..."She sees herself as a victim".
Jennifer Hudspeth - "I love teaching"...(When asked why she did it) "I was trying to get 'em to stop"..."I had a lapse in judgement"..."He kept asking and asking, by sending it, I thought they would stop"..."It wasn't easy, I was trying to get 'em to stop". "I'm not a threat to society". (When asked: Do you think you committed a crime?) "I do".
After listening to the testimony Judge Trapp sentenced Hudspeth to ten years probation and required that she register as a sex offender. Further, Hudspeth must relinquish her teaching certificate and must serve thirty days in the Polk County Jail as a condition of probation. "The Polk County District Attorney’s Office is gratified with the sentence handed down by Judge Trapp. By sentencing her to the maximum term of probation and requiring that she spend time in jail the Court showed that this type of crime will not be tolerated and that adults will be held responsible for betraying the trust of children" said Assistant Criminal District Attorney Kaycee Jones.
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