Ongoing coverage of child abuse in schools

Former High School Teacher Who Had Student's Baby Gets Year in Jail

If convicted of all 41 original charges, she would have faced up to 29 years in state prison

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    Laura Whitehurst, a Redlands teacher who pleaded guilty to having an affair and a baby with a 16-year-old student, appears in her booking photo from July 8, 2013, when she was re-arrested by the Redlands Police Department after being charged with 41 sex crimes.

    A second Southern California teacher who admitted to having sex with her students has been sentenced to jail time this week.

    Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst pleaded guilty earlier this month to having sexual relations with three students, included one her attorney said was the father of her baby.

    The 28-year-old former teacher at Redlands High School was formally sentenced Wednesday to one year in county jail and five years’ probation, as well as lifetime registration as a sex offender and sex offender counseling.

    Also this week, a former vice principal at Tahquitz High School in Hemet pleaded guilty to having sex with three teenage students. Erin Renee Henton, 45, was sentenced to a year in jail and three years’ probation Monday.

    Henton, whose male victims were all under 18, will have to register as a sex offender for the duration of her three-year probation, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

    Whitehurst pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sex with a minor and two counts of oral copulation with a minor. The remaining 35 charges against her were dismissed during a hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court Aug 1.

    The father of Whitehurst’s baby was a 16-year-old student at Citrus Valley High School at the time the affair began between the pair, police said. The boy attended the birth of the baby girl on June 18, according to court documents.

    The teen father's family on Wednesday opposed the year sentence imposed on Whitehurst, saying in a statement they think the former educator should have received more time behind bars.

    The teen and Whitehurst both admitted the affair to police during interviews, according to a detective's affidavit.

    Officials with the Redlands Unified School District had interviewed Whitehurst and her victim about their relationship in May, but police were not contacted until the boy's mother made a complaint, according to the affidavit.

    After police publicized her July 1 arrest, saying they believed a 17-year-old student was the father of her weeks-old baby, two other ex-students came forward with allegations of past sexual relationships with her.

    One victim was a 14-year-old student at the time the relationship began, and he had sex with Whitehurst in her English classroom, according to police.

    Another victim spoke to news media about his experience with Whitehurst in 2007-2008.

    "I didn't feel like a victim; I'm not scarred for life or anything," Michael Cooper told NBC4 at the time. "To be honest, I had a good time when it was going on."

    Whitehurst was charged with sexual relations with all three boys, two of whom were students of hers at Redlands High School.

    The sexual intercourse charges to which she pleaded guilty Wednesday were for the father of her baby; the two oral copulation charges were for each of the other victims.

    If convicted of all original charges, Whitehurst would have faced up to 29 years in state prison, the San Bernardino County District's Attorney's Office had said.

    Melissa Pamer contributed to this report.

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