Substitute Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes With Boys In Exchange for No Jail Time
Heidi Verrett, 34, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sex crimes with 3 underage boys in Louisiana
A former substitute teacher in Louisiana is avoiding jail time — and registering as a sex offender — by agreeing to plead guilty to misdemeanor sex crimes with three underage boys and sending lewd messages to a 12-year-old, PEOPLE confirms.
Heidi Domangue Verrett, 34, was initially charged in 2016 with three felony counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile under 13, a clerk in the Terrebonne Parish Courthouse tells PEOPLE.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Verrett pleaded guilty on March 22 to lesser charges: two misdemeanor counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and one count of attempting contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, the clerk says.
She pleaded guilty to having sex with three boys, aged 15 and 16, over the course of two months at her home. This occurred while she was working as a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher in Terrebonne Parish, the Houma Courier reports.
After Verrett pleaded guilty, District Judge Johnny Walker suspended her six-month jail sentence and gave her two years of unsupervised probation, local station WDSU reports.
He also ordered her to pay $900 in fines.
As part of her plea deal, Verrett does not have to register as a sex offender, WDSU reports.
She is prohibited from teaching for just two years, which upset some in the community, the Houma Courier and WDSU report.
“I think the system failed the children,” one woman told WDSU. “It’s horrible.”
Before agreeing to the deal, prosecutors said they made sure she won’t be allowed to teach anywhere ever again, WDSU reports.
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Assistant District Attorney Dennis Elfert told WDSU that the Terrebonne Parish School Board told him they would never hire Verrett again.
She would probably not be hired in other school districts since background check would reveal her conviction for sex crimes against children, WDSU reports.
Verrett is happy she isn’t going to jail, her attorney, Teresa King, told the Houma Courier: “I think the deal was worked out in everyone’s best interest.”
Calls to the prosecutor and to King were not immediately returned.