Friday, February 12, 2010
Allanah Benton-Wells, Flint, MI ex-teacher, gets 25-38 years for sex with 12 year old student
While we're on the subject of hefty punishment for sexual assault, as shown by many of the recent sentencings below, Allanah Benton-Wells, a Flint, MI teacher was sentenced to 25 to 38 years imprisonment yesterday for her sexual abuse of a 12 year old boy who she was supposed to have been tutoring around Halloween 2007. The victim wasn't a student in her regular classes at Williams Elementary School, according to Flint Schools spokesman Bob Campbell.
Benton-Wells, who has a history of dating younger men, was convicted on two counts of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct on December 22. Her ex-husband said that Benton-Wells had been in the presence of the boy late at night when he was shirtless and she was in a nightgown. The boy himself testified before running away that Benton-Wells told him to keep their sexual encounters a secret.
At Benton-Wells' sentencing, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Richardson cited the running away as proof of the damage inflicted by the encounters.
Richardson said the victim was a troubled child before his relationship Benton-Wells, where he considered her his “girlfriend,” but his behavior, respect for authority and his attitude toward women have gotten worse since that time. "She took a 12-year-old student under the guise of monitoring and made him a man in his eyes,” Richardson said.
Prosecutor David Leyton said that the crimes, which ripped apart the families of both the victim and the perpetrator, merited a long sentence. “If a teacher or any grown up has sex with someone who is under the age of 13, the sentence should be severe.” He also said that teachers should treat their students "like gold," and "should keep their hands off.”
Genessee County Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut, after complaining the mandatory 25 year minimum for 1st degree criminal sexual conduct tied his hands, sentenced Benton-Wells to 25-38 years in prison. “I heard these words during the trial, ‘a school teacher having sex with her sixth-grade student is the most disgusting, reprehensible thing we can imagine.’ That’s why you’re going to prison."
Benton-Wells maintained her innocence through the trial, and said just before sentencing, "I didn’t commit any of these acts, and I’m innocent...I maintain my innocence and that’s all I can do." She'll appeal the sentence, according to her attorney Michael Cronkright. “She thinks the jury got it wrong,” he said.