SHEPHERDSVILLE - A former educator in Bullitt and Nelson counties could spend the next eight years in prison.
Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress ruled Thursday morning that Larry Brent Childress, 41, should not be granted probation for his role in a sexual encounter with a teenager beginning in 1993.
Childress had entered a guilty plea on two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. The sentences would total eight years in prison.
During the guilty plea, special prosecutor Todd Lewis of the state attorney general's office took no position on any request for probation.
Under the original agreement, Childress would have served 120 days in jail if he were probated.
That did not happen.
The victim, who was 13 at the time of the first encounter, made an impassioned plea to Burress, asking that he sentence Childress to eight years in prison.
A question always asked is why a person would wait 16 years to come forward. The young woman said that she was taking her daughter to kindergarten last year and the little girl was crying because she was starting school for the first time.
"I told her she was safe with her teachers and students," said the victim.
But then she realized that there could be another person like Childress in the building.
"If there happened to be another Mr. Childress at her school, she might not be safe," said the woman.
She said 16 years ago she called Childress, who was an ISAP instructor at Hebron Middle and a coach at North Bullitt High, to buy some doughnuts as a fund-raiser. She said she never made any advances.
Instead, he gave her a bottle of chocolate milk after taking away her virginity at age 13.
In listening to statements made at the past two court appearances, the victim said her intelligence had been insulted.
"You continue to lie," said the victim to Childress. "You sicken me."
"I feel you are not sorry," said the woman. "I feel you are sorry you got caught."
"If you can't trust a teacher or a coach, who can you trust?"
Childress began the proceeding by apologizing.
"I'm very, very sorry," said Childress, who left North Bullitt and coached baseball at Nelson Count High and taught in an alternative program.
He said the relationship with the victim went on for 5-6 years and that she continued to contact him.
But he admitted that as an adult, it was his duty to protect the victim and himself.
Childress said the relationship was never a matter of force.
"Mr. Childress admits that he failed to protect the victim and himself," said Wantland.
In asking for probation, Wantland said his client had no criminal record outside of a couple of dismissed traffic tickets. And he said the sex offender evaluation listed Childress as a low risk to offend again in the future.
He said his client has already suffered punishment from the improper relationship having lost his wife, his job and much of the ability to be with his children.
In looking at the possibility of probation, Burress noted that he must consider three issues.
In the area of criminal history and how to treat the defendant, Burress said Childress could be suited for probation.
However, the final test is whether probation would diminish the severity of the crime and that is where Burress said he had a problem.
"It cannot be consensual," Burress said of the relationship with a 13-year-old.
He said the adult has the responsibility of protecting children and to grant probation would not be proper.
Any defendant can ask for shock probation at the appropriate time.
Following the ruling, Lewis said the attorney general's office is always willing to do as much work as is needed to get sex offenders off the streets.
"I think the judge's decision was dead on," said Lewis.
At this time, Lewis said there had not been a decision made on whether the state would oppose any request for shock probation.
"Let's see what happens," Lewis said in reference to any remorse shown by the defendant.
In talking with the victim and her family, Lewis said they were pleased with the judge's decision. He said the victim was really upset with the lack of truthfulness by Childress.
The issue on whether a videotape was made in Fayette County of the two having sex is still something the state is investigating. Childress denied any such tape but Lewis said the victim as a different version.
He said she has worked very hard to overcome the affects of the entire incident. And he believes she will eventually overcome the affects on her life and the life of her family.
Wantland said both individuals involved have been affected greatly. He planned to seek shock probation at the appropriate time.
During the sentence, Childress must undergo sex offender treatment.
In listening to the testimony, Wantland said he felt Burress was really troubled that the situation involved a teacher who had control over a student.
Childress is currently housed in the Bullitt County Detention Center awaiting transfer by the state corrections cabinet.