Wake Teacher Sentenced; Attorney Concerned About Her Well-Being
Posted July 30, 2002
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County teacher who admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old student was sentenced to eight to 10 months in prison Tuesday.
Betty Godwin Mackie, 46, sobbed in court Tuesday as the judge read her sentence in front of her husband, children and two dozen of her supporters.
Joe Cheshire, Mackie's attorney, said his client is sorry for what she did.
"She feels empathy with what she's done to their child and what the publicity did early on," he said.
Mackie pleaded guilty in May to having sex with the boy two years ago, while she worked at Ligon Middle School. Prosecutors say Mackie often kept him after class and drove him home from school. One day during the summer of 2000, she drove him to her house instead where they had sex.
Afterwards, prosecutors said Mackie told the boy this happened to her three times before and asked him to keep quiet.
"The defendant stated to the victim that no one needs to know. There's nothing wrong with it, and it would be OK to do it again," prosecutor Howard Cummings said.
Authorities said the boy did not tell anyone what happened for two years until his father found an e-mail about the incident that he wrote to a friend.
The victim said after the encounter, Mackie continued to pursue him, calling him and asking to see him, but he refused.
The boy's parents testified in court, calling Mackie a sexual deviant who lured their son into a trap, betrayed his trust and violated his innocence.
Judge Donald Stephens said in court that Mackie could have faced a tougher sentence.
"If I were a 56-year-old teacher in the public schools engaged in sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old female, I suspect no matter how good of a teacher that I was, I would have been charged with a B-1 felony and I would have been sentenced for at least 12 years, if I were lucky," he said.
Stephens cited Mackie's guilty plea and her career as a Wake County teacher as factors in his decision.
Mackie resigned from her job as an English teacher at Broughton High School in June.
Mackie is being treated for bipolar disorder or manic-depression at a local hospital. Cheshire said his client might not survive the sentence the judge handed down.
"I want her to have the opportunity to get with her doctors and make the necessary contacts about her medications. I don't want to read about her hanging from her cell," he said.
Mackie will return to court Wednesday to start serving her sentence.