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Minus deal, teacher pleads guilty

Former Middleton High teacher Christina Butler, center, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and contributing to delinquency. After court, she spoke with her lawyers, Maria Pavlidis and Charles Traina.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Former Middleton High teacher Christina Butler, center, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and contributing to delinquency. After court, she spoke with her lawyers, Maria Pavlidis and Charles Traina.

TAMPA — Former Middleton High School teacher Christina Butler, charged exactly a year ago with having unlawful sex with a 16-year-old student, pleaded guilty Thursday to all of the charges against her.

Prosecutors did not offer any sort of plea deal, and Butler, 34, threw herself on the mercy of the court. Her sentencing was postponed until Dec. 10. Her charges — contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor — carry total penalties of more than 30 years in prison.

Prosecutor Anthony Duran said the state would ask for substantial jail time. "We have a very strong case," he said.

Butler hung her head as she left the courtroom, and her public defenders, Charles Traina and Maria Pavlidis, said they would not comment until the sentencing.

According to affidavits read during the hearing, Butler engaged in sexual activity with the student at least twice between August 2007 and October 2007. The teen, then 16, was one of her students. He had borderline mental retardation.

Butler met him in class, showed interest in him, and invited him back to her house on several occasions without permission from his parents, according to the statements.

On Oct. 23, 2007, the student was pulled over for a traffic infraction while driving Butler's Jeep. Police learned he did not have a license and that he had a sexual relationship with Butler. He was charged with driving without a license, and Butler admitted the sexual activity.

"He didn't have a full understanding of what he was doing," Duran said of the teen.

In addition to the recorded confession, Duran said the state obtained DNA evidence from Butler's home linking her to the student.

Minus deal, teacher pleads guilty 10/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 10:16pm]
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