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Sexting middle school teacher gets five years' probation for pictures sent to student

Christy Lynn Martin, who taught at Azalea Middle School, is barred from working with children.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Christy Lynn Martin, who taught at Azalea Middle School, is barred from working with children.

LARGO — She was supposed to teach technology, and how to make good choices in life.

But choices and cell phones led her to jail, to court and finally to the ranks of sex offender.

Christy Lynn Martin, a former teacher at Azalea Middle School, was sentenced to five years' probation Tuesday for sexting an eighth grade student last year.

Martin, 33, pleaded guilty to transmitting pornographic images through an electronic device and transmitting material harmful to a minor, avoiding a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. She will have to register as a sex offender, wear an electronic monitor and go through a treatment program for sex offenders.

"I realize how wrong I was," Martin said in court Tuesday, wearing a pale pink sweater, hair pulled into a ponytail. "I accept full responsibility for my behavior. … I am extremely ashamed and remorseful for my actions."

At Azalea, Martin taught five computer classes and one "life choices" course, teaching students about positive relationships, self-esteem building and conflict resolution. But at some point, she developed a relationship with an eighth grade boy.

According to authorities, they called each other "husband" and "wife," kissed each other and sent each other cell phone photos of their private parts.

They did not have sex and did not see each other outside of school, according to information contained in a search warrant related to the case.

Martin was arrested in March and had been out of jail on bond.

According to the search warrant, the boy, then 14, said he took two photos of himself on his silver Samsung Messenger cell phone, and the teacher admitted taking three photos of herself on her red Sprint cell phone.

The boy sent his photos to Martin, who acknowledged receiving them. She also admitted sending the photos of herself, but officials deleted the name of the recipient. Photos of a woman's genitals were found on the boy's cell phone.

Martin did not admit to calling the boy her husband but did say she threatened him with "divorce" because he had "too many little girlfriends."

The document also says that the boy touched Martin on her buttocks outside her clothing, but that she did not touch him in that way.

The boy's mother addressed Martin in court on Tuesday.

"You done messed up my son's life," she said, making eye contact with the former teacher. "He thinks it's all right to mess with grown women now. He's messed up. You destroyed my son, you destroyed my family. I don't feel sorry for you one bit. If it was up to me, you'd get life. I mean that from the bottom of my heart."

Martin was placed on administrative leave and resigned from her job on April 1. As a condition of her probation, she can no longer work anywhere with children, including day care centers, malls, theme parks and schools. Martin said she has already started therapy and was working toward a master's degree to better her family's life.

She asked Judge Cynthia Newton if she could have permission to transport her own children to school. As a single mother, Martin said she had no one else to take them.

"I'm going to allow you to take the kids to school and pick them up from school," Newton said.

But she can do nothing else on school property.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

Sexting middle school teacher gets five years' probation for pictures sent to student 02/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 7:50am]
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