Band Volunteer Sentenced For Having Sex With Teen Students
Posted March 10, 2005 4:22 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A man who worked with kids in two school systems pleaded guilty Thursday to having sex with two girls who were under the age of 18.
Larry Hougum volunteered with bands at Athens Drive and Clayton high schools. His attorney says he was also a teaching assistant in Johnston County.
Under a plea agreement with the state, Hougum pleaded guilty and will serve just a fraction of the 43 years he could have been sentenced to. Hougum admitted to having sex with two 15-year-old girls.
Investigators say the incidents happened at Hougum's Holly Spring's home. His family was emotional as they watched the judge sentence Hougum to up to 6½ years in prison for two counts of second-degree rape.
The prosecutor told the judge the parents of the victims are pleased with the sentence. He also said one of the victims is being treated for depression.
Hougum's attorney, Joe Cheshire, said that while his client committed a crime, he believes the victims are not totally blameless in this case. Cheshire said the victims chatted on the Internet with other girls about wanting to have sex and doing so with Hougum.
"There are situations (in which) very mature girls decide they want something to happen and it happens not only with their consent, but with their instigation and, yet we treat all of these things the same," Cheshire said.
Eddie Davis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said teachers need more training on how to handle those kinds of situations.
"The school districts that hire them have a responsibility to put forth some kind of training about the expectations and the realities of the year 2005," he said.
School districts across the country are becoming more and more aware that boundaries between students and teachers are often compromised. The National Association of Educators has a program called "
Hurting and Flirting
" that explains the issue of sexual harrassment in schools and talks about how to prevent it and deal with it.