Former Center teacher gets 6 months in jail, probation for sex with student

Jennifer Cassell (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Jennifer Cassell (Source: Shelby County Jail)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A former Center ISD teacher has accepted a plea deal in connection to her sexual relationship with a student.

Shelby County prosecutor Stephen Shires said Jennifer Rhodes Cassell, of Timpson, entered the plea Wednesday during a sentencing hearing. She had pleaded no-contest to a charge of improper relationship in April. She will serve a four-year probation term which includes six months in county jail.

Center police arrested Cassell in August following an investigation into an alleged sexual relationship with a student.

An arrest affidavit states a school employee saw a male student's vehicle outside Cassell's apartment and the student admitted to having a relationship with Cassell.

"Those 180 days in jail will be served day-for-day," Shires said. "That means she won't get paroled."

Shires said he opted to abandon a charge of tampering with evidence.

"If the case had gone to trial, I would've been prepared to show how evidence showed she instructed the victim to get rid of the cellphone evidence," Shires said. "But since she pleaded on the other charge, I decided to abandon that charge."

"The role of the prosecutor is not to send people to prison, but to try to see that justice is done," Shires said. "And I thought what we did was right. She'll never teach again but it allows her to learn from her mistakes. She'll be in jail for six months sleeping on a cot and eating baloney sandwiches."

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