Thursday, September 25, 2008

Teacher and softball coach indicted for 4 year relationship with female student - pleads guilty

(Original Post 12-24-07)
No, the AOC in Arizona is 18, not 16, but the betrayal of trust is still present when there is a teacher/student sex case. Also, the more information about teacher student cases that is available, the more people will know, and then do something about it.

Gay Lynn Turley, 42, was arrested Wednesday, December 19th for a sexual encounter with a 16 year old student which turned into a 4-year relationship. The now 20 year old victim told police about the relationship on December 17th, and Turley, after questioning from Sgt. Mark Marino from the Mesa Police, admitted the allegations were true. She was arrested after the last classes let out at Mesa High School, and charged with 10 counts of suspicion of sexual contact with a minor.

The East Valley Tribune has more to say about the relationship:

She started staying overnight at Turley’s house in May of that year, and the relationship eventually became sexual, Marino said. At 18, the relationship grew as the girl moved in with Turley. Things apparently soured between the two women sometime this year when, according to police, the girl moved out of Turley’s home.

The souring of the relationship also included an incident which led to criminal charges against the alleged victim, another East Valley Tribune article, "Former student involved with teacher has record" reports.

The arrest was made in August after the former student is alleged to have assaulted Mesa High School teacher and coach Gay Lyn Turley, 42, in her Gilbert home, police said. [Turley's victim] was also charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage.

Kathy Bareiss, spokeswoman for the Mesa Unified School District, said school officials were only told about the investigation Wednesday.

Turley has been a teacher and girls golf and softball coach at Mesa High School since 1989. According to the school’s Web site, she taught six physical education classes during the fall semester. The school has started an inquiry and is assisting police with their investigation. Mesa Unified School District has placed Turley on paid leave. If the investigation reveals she broke the law or school policy, she will be fired, school officials said.

It appears Turley was still teaching even while police were investigating her, Bareiss said. Bareiss said the district plans to conduct an inquiry and assist police officers with their investigation.“We have a due process,” she said. “We’re trying to be fair to everybody.”If it turns out Turley broke the law or district policy, she will be fired, Bareiss said.

If the investigations are not over when the next semester starts on Jan. 3, Turley will be placed on paid leave, she said.According to the school’s Web site, Turley taught six physical education and sports classes during the fall semester and is scheduled to teach six more in the spring.

Marino said police are concerned there may be other victims and asked anyone with information to call them at (480) 503-6500.

Turley has been released from jail and is on house arrest.
(Update 7-25-08) Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Helene Abrams will considering accepting Turley's plea agreement to sexual contact with a minor. The charge, a "wobbler" under Arizona law, carries a sentence of six months in jail if a misdemeanor, or a year in prison if a felony. Turley will forfeit her pension, serve at least a decade of probation, register as a SO (which is life in AZ), and forfeit her pension. The charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor from a felony because the victim's abuse started when she was 15.
The victim, who is not being identified because she is a sex crimes victim, said in court that she had been informed about the plea agreement but had not consented to it.

"It started when I was 15, until I was 18, on a nightly basis," the victim told Abrams. She said she is upset that the crime could be designated a misdemeanor after Turley served 10 years of probation.

"It seems like she's getting off awfully easy," the victim said.

The charge is a class six felony and can be reduced to a misdemeanor because the victim was more than 15 years when the crime occurred.
Deputy County Attorney Harold Brenneman Jr asked Abrams to defer sentencing until August 27 due to the victim's reluctance to accept the plea agreement, and Abrams accepted.
(Update 9-25-08) Turley was sentenced on September 19 to a decade of probation, ordered to register as a sex offender, and ordered to give up her teaching certificate for the abusive relationship. The victim, Charmai Choate, talks about trips to Hawaii, among other places and how she felt that Turley took advantage of a 15 year old girl without a family. Choate, in the interview on the linked page, shows mixed feelings about Turley, but says she came forward for other victims.

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