Teacher Guilty In Student Sex Cases www.privateofficer.com
GROVE HILL AL. – A former Coffeeville English teacher was found guilty Wednesday on two counts of enticing a minor for immoral purposes.
Sharon L. Rutherford, 32, was arrested last year on multiple charges stemming from alleged sexual contact with at least four of her students, including soliciting at least one of them to kill her husband.
The solicitation charge is still pending against Rutherford. No date for that trial has been set.
Soon after Rutherford’s arrest in April 2006, authorities dropped rape and sexual abuse charges against her when they determined that two of the boys mentioned in those charges were older than Alabama’s age of consent, 16. The remaining enticement charges involved boys who were 14 and 15 at the time.
The jury began deliberations shortly before 4 p.m. and reached a verdict about three hours later.
The enticement charges, class C felonies, carry a potential sentence of up to 10 years on each count. A sentencing hearing has been set for Dec. 10.
Attorneys and witnesses declined to comment on the case due to a gag order put in place by Presiding Circuit Court Judge Thomas Baxter.
The jury heard testimony Wednesday from one of the younger students and watched a videotape of his statement from April 7, 2006.
The student said on the tape and on the stand that on one occasion Rutherford asked another one of his teachers to send him and another boy to Rutherford’s classroom.
The student said that once he arrived, Rutherford “brushed her hand” across his pelvic area, and made sexually suggestive remarks to him and other boys who were “hanging out” in her classroom.
Rutherford told the boys they “wouldn’t last five minutes with her” sexually because they were young, and she was experienced, the student testified.
Defense attorney Richard Jensen called only two witnesses for the defense: the same student who testified for the prosecution and that student’s mother.
Rutherford sat through the trial attentively, showing little emotion.
Jensen said Rutherford had immoral and reprehensible sexual affairs with the two older students, and she should be “fired and her teaching certificate pulled.” But, he said, she did not entice the younger students.
One of the two older boys testified Tuesday that he met Rutherford at a graveyard and had sex in her vehicle after she told him to meet her there.
Another older boy, a special-education student, testified Tuesday that he and the teacher carried on a sexual affair from 2004 through 2006 at Coffeeville High School.
The boy estimated they had sex a hundred times or more, but he said he didn’t care for Rutherford.
The teacher was in love with that student, according to Jensen, and prosecutors introduced into evidence a stack of love poems she wrote and gave to the student.
On Tuesday, Jensen said the older boys told the principal about their relationships with Rutherford when they got into trouble at school over an unrelated matter and needed a way to get out.
Rutherford’s husband, James Rutherford Jr., filed for divorce May 5, 2006. They have two daughters, 2 and 11 years old.
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