Teacher avoids jail time in sex assault plea - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teacher avoids jail time in sex assault plea

November 22, 2004

Albany -- Former Westover High School teacher Carla Murray Monday afternoon plead guilty to one count of sexual assault. She admitted having a consensual sexual affair with a student.

As part of her plea agreement, Murray will not serve any jail time. 32-year-old Carla Murray barely whispered the word "Guilty" to the judge. She received a three-year sentence for sexual assault against a 17-year-old male student while she taught at Westover High School.

But she will serve that sentence on probation, none in prison. Assistant D. A. Christopher Cohilas said "It sends a message that this is not going to be tolerated. Whether or not it's a consensual relationship, it will be treated seriously."

Under the plea agreement with the District Attorney's office, Murray will register as a sex offender and forfeit her teaching certificate. She can not have any contact with the student.

But would a male teacher, who had sex with a underage female student, escape jail time? Defense Attorney Howard Stiller said "There might have been a differing view probably on the part of the public had it been a male teacher and a female student."

D.A. Cohilas said "She was surrendering her teaching license, which is the most important thing that we felt we needed to achieve, to make sure that she was not teaching at any other schools in Georgia."

Murray's attorney said she had no plans for the future, but leaving her first love, teaching, will be difficult for her.

According to the case file, Carla Murray had tried to have sexual relations with another male student. He complained to school administrators.

posted at 3:53 PM by jimw@walb.com