Georgia Cheerleading Coach Sentenced for Repeated Sex Assault of Underage Student
Raquel Eleana Spencer will spend 90 to 120 days in a detention center followed by 10 years of probation
A Georgia teacher has been sentenced for having an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage student.
Raquel Eleana Spencer pleaded guilty on Friday to sexual assault by a person with supervisory and disciplinary authority, according to online records from the Whitfield County clerk of court’s office.
Spencer, 29, was an English teacher at Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. She also coached cheerleading and track and field.
On April 25, students and staff at the school, located near the Tennessee border, noticed that Spencer was behaving erratically. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, administrators escorted her to the office and then then notified authorities that Spencer seemed to be under the influence of drugs. Authorities arrived at the school and arrested her for possession of heroin.
During their investigation into Spencer’s activities, authorities checked her phone and found text messages between her and an underage student. Authorities alleged that the relationship began on October 1, 2017 and lasted until April 8, 2018.
According to the indictment, Spencer had sex with the student multiple times. The indictment noted that she had “supervisory and disciplinary authority over” the student.
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In addition to the sexual assault charge, Spencer was charged with possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance. That charge was later dropped as part of the plea agreement.
According to court documents, Spencer will spend 90 to 120 days in a detention center, followed by 10 years of probation. She will perform 300 hours of community service and will pay a $1,000 fine. She will have to register as a sex offender.
Spencer will be held at a probation detention center instead of a prison. The minimum security facility will provide substance abuse counseling.
Whitfield County Schools did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment, but Superintendent Judy Gilreath told the Daily Citizen that she wasn’t familiar enough with the details of the case to determine whether the sentence was fair.
“I do hope that she gets the treatment and help she needs,” Gilreath told the newspaper.
An attorney for Spencer did not immediately return PEOPLE’s message for comment.