LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A former Hudson ISD kindergarten teacher who had sexual intercourse with at least six high school students agreed to a plea bargain deal of 10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison Thursday.
As part of her plea bargain deal, Heather Lee Robertson, 39, of Lufkin, pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault of a child charges and seven improper relationship with a student charges. Robertson appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th.
As part of the deal, Robertson will be required to surrender her teaching certification and register a sex offender for the rest of her life.
"An investigation revealed that Robertson, a former kindergarten teacher in Hudson ISD, had sexual intercourse with at least six Hudson students between November 2016 and February of 2017," a press release from the Angelina County District Attorney's Office stated. "Forensic interviews of the students revealed that Robertson invited the boys to her Lufkin apartment in order to have sex."
In one of the incidents, Robertson arranged for a student to have his parents drop him off at her apartment, "under the guise of helping her move furniture," the press release stated. After one of the boy's parents dropped him off, Robertson and the student had sex in her apartment.
"Robertson was arrested at the conclusion of the investigation and later indicted by an Angelina County grand jury for six counts of sexual assault of a child and six counts of improper relationship between a student and educator."
The press release stated that each one of the charges carries a potential punishment range of between two and 20 years in prison.
Misty Dodson, who's young son was in Robertson's classroom before all the allegations unfolded said there were plenty signs.
"Well all year long, we'd known that something was wrong because my son was - he just wasn't acting right. Things were going on in class and he was just really unhappy at school, so when allegations came out we weren't really shocked. We just wished the school would have looked into it sooner," Dodson said.
In the press release, Assistant District Attorney Todd Dillon thanked detectives from the Lufkin Police Department, Hudson ISD Police Department, and the staff at Harold's House for their efforts in the case.
"Teachers are entrusted with our most valuable and most precious asset every day," Dillon said. "When teachers betray that trust in Angelina County, they will be held accountable for that betrayal, and they will face significant punishment."
Dillon also cautioned parents to be aware of who their children may be communicating with on social media and messaging applications, adding that these methods of communication were used by Robertson to contact the victims in this case.
Dodson said 10 years punishment is too little, adding no amount of time is enough for what the victims had to endure.
"I hate to see someone's life be ruined but think about all those parents of the other children and what they think and what they're going through," Dodson said.
Meanwhile, Dillon said this deal was in the best interest for the victims.
"We're happy that we were able to get this matter concluded without re-victimizing the victims. Putting them through a jury trial would asking these young men to do a lot, so this was a good resolution for everybody," Dillon said.