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Mom pleads guilty to sex battery on daughter

BROOKSVILLE — When James Hubbard got upset with his 14-year-old stepdaughter, authorities say, he sometimes punished her by forcing her to engage in sexual acts.

Sometimes, the girl's mother, Jeri Hubbard, joined in on the discipline.

For their punishment tactics, James and Jeri Hubbard now sit in jail cells, sentenced to life terms on charges related to sexual battery of a minor.

The crimes occurred in two counties, first Hernando and again when the three moved to Citrus. In 2007, a jury in Citrus found the pair guilty of the charges and the Hubbards each received a life sentence.

On Thursday, Jeri Hubbard, 41, was in the Hernando County courthouse. Her case had been set for trial next Monday, but she accepted a deal in which she pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery of a child by a family member.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which will run concurrent with her life sentence from Citrus County.

James Hubbard is charged in Hernando County with four counts of sexual battery against a child committed by a family member or custodial authority. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled in court Sept. 5.

The alleged crimes started when the three lived in Hernando, nearly four years ago, and continued when they moved to Citrus, prosecutors said. James Hubbard started the practice, said Assistant State Attorney Lisa Herndon, and Jeri Hubbard occasionally joined in.

Jeri and James Hubbard were arrested in Citrus in June 2006, both charged with multiple felony counts of sexual battery on a minor and other related charges. Shortly thereafter, they were charged in Hernando.

The cases went to trial in Citrus, where Jeri Hubbard was found guilty of all eight counts. James Hubbard was found guilty on 10 of 11 counts. Along with their life sentences each was classified a sexual predator.

Jeri Hubbard's attorney, Michael Amico, said his client was prepared to go to trial until the victim submitted a letter to the court. The letter made Hubbard reconsider.

Michael Sanserino can be reached at msanserino@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1430.

Mom pleads guilty to sex battery on daughter 08/01/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 7:53pm]
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