A disgraced California teacher who slashed his own throat last year upon learning he’d been convicted of sexual assaulting a teenage relative was sentenced on Friday to 46 years to life behind bars, PEOPLE confirms.
In addition to the substantial prison sentence he received in California’s Orange County Superior Court, 57-year-old Jeffrey Scott Jones must also register as a sex offender.
Jones received the maximum sentence after his conviction, in October, on two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse.
His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment about the sentencing.
Authorities say Jones continually sexually assaulted his victim between 2012 and 2013, beginning when she was 13 — raping her on two occasions.
Prosecutors have said that after raping the girl, he told her “he would ruin her life if she told anyone what he was doing.”
Jones learned his fate on Friday after a statement from his victim was read aloud in court. In it, she acknowledged the work of the judge and prosecutors for “bringing justice to a nightmare that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
The victim also addressed Jones directly.
“The past few years have been challenging and difficult,” she said in her statement. “From homelessness, missing meals, group homes, juvenile hall and feeling hopeless and unloved by my own mother, you broke and brought me down to feel worthless.
“There were days I blamed myself, thinking I did something wrong to the point that I wanted to take my life.”
“I want you to listen closely: I was a little girl and you took my innocence,” the victim’s statement continued. “You are a pathetic excuse of a human. Parents and kids trusted you to be a teacher, not a predator.”
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In May 2013, Huntington Beach police became aware of allegations against Jones, and he was arrested after a month-long investigation.
Jones worked as a teacher for 27 years and was teaching advanced placement English in Huntington Park, California, when he was arrested.
He was fired in March 2014, according to authorities. The victim was not one of his students.
During Jones’ trial, another girl testified that she and a third girl were also sexually assaulted by him. Both girls, prosecutors said, were Jones’ former students.
As his guilty verdict was read on Oct. 19, Jones used a razor blade to slice his throat in the courtroom. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and released.
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Prosecutors confirm Jones’ victim was disowned by her family after his abuse came to light.
But, in her statement, the teen said she would not let Jones’ crimes define her.
“Today, I am sober, graduated high school early, and I am about to start college,” she said. “I have family and a support system that you can’t take from me.
“I refuse to allow your abuse to stop the woman I want to become.”