Redlands Teacher Jailed for Sex Abuse With Students Released Early

Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst faced up to 29 years in prison before accepting a plea deal

By Tony Shin and Andrew Lopez
|  Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014  |  Updated 1:57 AM PDT
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A community is outraged after teacher Laura Whitehurst is released from jail after serving about half of her year-long- sentence. Whitehurst pleaded guilty to having sex with three underage students who attended Citrus Valley High School. Tony Shin reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 7, 2014.

Tony Shin

A community is outraged after teacher Laura Whitehurst is released from jail after serving about half of her year-long- sentence. Whitehurst pleaded guilty to having sex with three underage students who attended Citrus Valley High School. Tony Shin reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 7, 2014.

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A Southern California teacher who was sent to jail earlier this year after pleading guilty to having sex with three underage students -- one of which is the father of her child -- has been released after serving about half her sentence.

Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, a former teacher at Citrus Valley High School was freed on Sunday, much to the surprise of some of her victim’s parents.

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“I felt it was a tad bit too short for my perspective,“ said Andy Woosley, the stepfather of Michael Cooper, one of Whitehurst's victims. "There’s a trust that parents give to teachers to care for our children. She violated that trust.”

Whitehurst faced 41 counts and up to 29 years in jail, but was sentenced to a year in county jail after accepting a plea deal.

She was granted an early release because of good behavior as part of her probation agreement. Whitehurst will have to wear a GPS monitoring device, but she will be allowed written contact with the father of her child.

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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 her July 1 arrest, 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. 

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