Two former teachers who pleaded guilty to sexual relations with a 17-year-old boy were sentenced to probation Thursday morning, which the district attorney's office has objected to as excessively light.
Gay Davidson-Shepard, 60, and her husband Daniel Shepard, 63, both of Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty Aug. 30 to multiple felony and misdemeanor counts. Davidson-Shepard was sentenced to three years formal probation with four years in jail stayed and Shepard to three years formal probation with two years in jail stayed, according to a release from the district attorney's office.
The Shepards were also ordered to complete counseling and 60 days of community service. If they violate probation, they will have to serve their allotted time in county jail.
The prosecution has argued for state prison time and lifetime sex-offender registration, spokeswoman Farrah Emami said. She said the couple's status as teachers placed them in a position of trust with the victim, making their offenses even more extreme.
"They were teachers and a married couple," Emami said. "They groomed this victim and they gained his trust, and they took advantage of the fact that they were a married couple and he felt comfortable going to their home."
The victim met the Shepards when he was a student at Westminster High School, where Shepard taught. After befriending the couple, he began going to their house for dinner and later participated in drinking and sexual acts.
The Shepards were arrested in April 2011 after the victim told his mother about the relationship. Davidson-Shepard taught at Mesa View Middle School in Huntington Beach at the time of the arrest.
The victim's mother, whose name the Independent is withholding due to the nature of the case, expressed dismay at the sentence.
"I am appalled," she said. "During my impact statement, I let the court know just how disappointed I was and how unfair and unjust it was. Apparently, it boils down to the judge felt my son's life was worth the Shepards picking up trash for a couple of weeks."