Courtney Jarrell, a former high school teacher in Riverton entered guilty pleas to three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Last year she was originally charged with object rape and forcible sexual abuse, both felonies, because of a sexual relationship she had with a female student who attended her high school, but those charges were refiled as sexual battery. Ms. Jarrell got a pretty good deal which included only probation, no jail time, and she does not have to register as a sex offender. The victim, also female, was 17 years old at the time of the sexual encounter.
This is not the first time that a teacher has been charged with a crime for having a sexual relationship with a student, but it is unique in the sense that the penalties/consequences to the teacher were very minimal. More often than not, teachers charged with these types of crimes aren’t given many plea options, let alone one that does not include any jail time. One has to wonder if the fact that both Ms. Jarrell and the victim are female had anything to do with the leniency of the sentence as such a sentence would have been unlikely if Ms. Jarrell were male. Then again, the victim and her family did not want Ms. Jarrell to do any jail time and so that certainly weighs in favor of a light sentence. Again, the question arises as to whether the victim’s family would have been as willing to recommend no jail if Ms. Jarrell were male.