Despite a tearful plea for clemency, a 30-year-old Florida teacher was sentenced Thursday to 22 years in jail for having sex dozens of times with three 17-year-old students – one of whom got her pregnant.
“I hate what I have done,” Jennifer Fichter told the court in Polk County, with her victims and their families in attendance, in a video posted by WFTS-TV. “I wish I could go back and think about [the victims] before me. But I can’t. I can’t do that If you hate me, I understand.”
But the judge called Fichter a predator and handed down the sentence of more than two decades.
“You’re going to have a long time to think about what you did. I trust that your faith is real, and you’ll have a long time to let your faith work in your life so that when you come out you’re a different person,” the judge said. “It bothered me that there was references to that faith and yet there was this activity.”
The former Central Florida Aerospace Academy teacher was arrested 15 months ago and pleaded guilty in April to 37 counts of child sex charges involving three victims going back to 2011. Each count carried a maximum penalty of 15 years.
Fichter became pregnant by one of her victims and had an abortion, she said in a phone call with that victim’s mother – which was recorded and played in court.
The victims and their families said Fichter’s action wrecked their lives.
“It hurts,” one mother told the court, according to WTSP-TV. “I saw myself losing my son before my very eyes and there was nothing I could do to reach him.”
Fichter has 30 days to appeal her sentence.