Dear Judge Harrison, I am the mother of one of the victims of Laura Whitehurst.

Laura Whitehurst is a child predator and has taken my son’s innocence as well as forced him to be a father of a child while he is still a child himself. My son has been bullied, abused and humiliated. Over the past couple of months I have listened to strangers comment on how my son was lucky that he hooked up with a young teacher and that he is not a victim. Obviously none of those people are mothers or parents of a victim. I watched my son go to school day after day and had no idea that I was sending him into harm’s way. I watched my son change during his senior year from an outgoing involved honors student who was very involved in our family to a quiet stressed out teenager who was unable to focus on school and was barely home. I had no clue that he was having a relationship with his teacher – the one person a parent should always be able to trust her child with. No parent should ever have to experience what I have experienced. No child should ever be victimized by his teacher. And, no teacher should ever think it is okay to have sex with her student. I did what I was supposed to do as a parent. I made sure my son attended school, and he did very well. I trusted that when I sent my child to school he would be protected by his school and his teachers. It never occurred to me that a teacher who had a license to teach my child and was entrusted to educate him would think it is okay to have a sexual relationship with him, much less get pregnant. Now I am a grandmother to a baby who was the result of the violation of my child. My heart breaks for my son every day. And, I am faced with the fear that I cannot protect my youngest child from similar predators since she is still in school.

I know that teenagers do have sexual relationships and sometimes those relationships result in pregnancies and children. But, this is not the case with my son. My son did not have a relationship with another teenager. He did not fumble through a relationship with another kid. My child was at least the third child that was preyed upon by his teacher, Laura Whitehurst. Laura Whitehurst actively pursued my son, used his inexperience and his immaturity to take advantage of him, exploited my son’s religious beliefs to benefit herself, excluded him from his peer group and ultimately robbed him of his innocence and youth. I am unaware if your honor has any children. But, I ask that you consider the sentence you would find fair if the victim were your child or loved one. Ms. Whitehurst callously and intentionally took advantage of at least 3 young boys. She has violated the trust that children and parents place in teachers. And, she has selfishly committed these crimes with no regard to the affect her crimes have had on the children or families she has violated. The plea bargain, in all honesty, is unjust. Ms. Whitehurst was initially charged with 41 felony counts, which would have her facing potentially 29 years in prison – Now that count has been reduced to 6 felonies for a total of 365 days in county jail. I am not a judge or attorney and have no idea what a fair punishment would be. But, I do think that the punishment should be fit the crimes that Laura Whitehurst has committed. I would request that you do not accept this plea today.

Thank you.

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