Hot to Trot Teach Gets 6 Months in Jail for Having Sex with 2 Lucky Students

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from – A former middle school music teacher pleaded guilty Monday to six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and was taken to jail immediately.

Devri DePriest, 27, surrendered her bond after the July 8 Criminal Court hearing and was taken to the Sumner County Jail, where she will spend six months. After her release, she will serve 10 years of probation with multiple conditions. By pleading guilty to a felony, she automatically forfeits her teaching license.

DePriest, a former Rucker-Stewart Middle School music teacher and Gallatin High School band instructor, was arrested on Oct. 18, 2011, and indicted in 2012 on 15 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and one count of sexual battery by an authority figure for having sex with two underage male students. She pleaded guilty to six counts as part of her deal with prosecutors, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

“It’s a fair outcome,” said Assistant District Attorney Jayson Criddle, who prosecuted the case. “She’s going to serve a very significant sentence for somebody who’s never been in jail before, which is nothing to sneeze at. I wasn’t going to agree to anything that didn’t include jail time.”

‘Fair sentence’
Based on her clean criminal background and other factors, state prosecutors agreed to the immediate six months of jail time, with the remaining time to be served on probation, during which DePriest must comply with several requirements.

“I take into account the wishes of the families and prior criminal history,” Criddle said. “And based on that, this is a fair sentence.”

DePriest was incarcerated Monday as part of what Criddle described as a “comprehensive settlement.”

DePriest’s charges included four counts of statutory rape for having sex approximately 20 times with a 16-year-old boy in 2010 in Hendersonville. At the time, the boy was a member of the Gallatin High School band, which DePriest, then 25, was instructing. She was also teaching music at Rucker-Stewart Middle School in Gallatin. Her other charges included 10 counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery for having sex with a 17-year-old boy, also a member of the GHS band, in 2009 in Gallatin.

“I’ve spoken with both (victims) and their families, and they’re satisfied with the outcome,” Criddle told Criminal Court Judge Dee David Gay Monday. “They’re relieved to not have to go through a trial.”

DePriest to donate to Ashley’s Place
As a condition of her probation, DePriest will register with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as a sex offender upon her release and will have to abide by stricter rules than those typically imposed on non-sex offenders. DePriest also voluntarily gave up her license to teach; will not have access to a computer; cannot use drugs or alcohol; cannot go near areas with children, such as schools and parks; and cannot have contact with minors other than relatives for the next 10 years. She is required to pay a $1,200 fine and make a $500 donation to Ashley’s Place, a Gallatin nonprofit that helps child victims of sexual crimes and abuse, Criddle said Monday.

During the hearing, DePriest told Gay through tears that she has a master’s degree in secondary education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and that she plans to live in Sumner County, likely in Portland, after she serves her six-month sentence.

DePriest’s defense attorney, William “Butch” Moore, declined to comment because of “open-ended items” in the agreement. The actual agreement is contingent on DePriest completing her jail time with good behavior. She is scheduled for release Jan. 4 and will appear in court two days later for approval of her plea deal.

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