A Texas jury today convicted a 28-year-old former teacher of having had sex with five of her 18-year-old students last year while her husband was stationed elsewhere, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Brittni Colleps, a former Kennedale High School English teacher and a mother of three children, was found guilty of 16 felony counts of improper relationship between an educator and student. She faces 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count. Her bond was revoked and she was taken to jail to await sentencing.
Four of the former students testified -- all using pseudonyms -- as did Colleps' husband and her mother. Three of the students said they did not consider themselves victims and did not want to see Colleps prosecuted.
"This is a victimless crime," defense attorney Lex Johnston said during closing arguments this morning. "I didn't hear from any children. These are grown men that are old enough to go to war."
An Arlington police detective testified that charges were filed because "18 or not, it's a crime" for a teacher to have sex with students.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Tim Rodgers said, "There's no gray area. There isn't a sliding scale of how guilty she is."
Two students testified that text messages with Colleps quickly turned sexual. Evidence showed that Colleps had group sex with the students at least twice, including a videotaped encounter with four of them, the Star-Telegram writes in its detailed account of the "salacious trial."
Colleps' husband of nine years, Christopher, who is in the military, tearfully acknowledged that he and his wife had engaged in group sex.
He testified the sexcapades with the students, which occurred at the couple's home in the spring of 2011, happened when he was stationed away from the Arlington area. The Star-Telegram doesn't indicated his service branch, where he was stationed or whether he was deployed overseas.
He said that he had seen the videotape and that what she did was "morally and ethically wrong," but not illegal. He said that what happened was "between me and her and God."
He said their children began crying when he told them "mommy did some bad things and made some bad choices and ... might have to go away."
On the witness stand this afternoon during the punishment phase, Brittni Colleps' mother, Shirley Bush, described her daughter as a model child, including being a star high school softball player and being named "newcomer of the year" in 1999 by the Arlington Star-Telegram.
But Bush said she was disappointed in her daughter and asked the jury to have "mercy" on her and the children.
"They need their mom," she said. "... It's not their fault."