Elizabeth Gaddy, 46, of Hogansville pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation for having oral sex with the student. In exchange for the plea, the district attorney’s office dismissed charges of aggravated child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
When Superior Court Judge Quillian Baldwin asked if she wanted to say anything before sentencing, Gaddy replied, “No, sir.”
The victim’s father, with his wife at his side, told Baldwin the case had been “very hard and stressful on this family.”
“I’m so sorry, and I pray to God to have mercy on everyone’s soul,” the father said. “I don’t understand why, but there are no winners. It’s very sad for everyone involved. I know it’s something we didn’t do. I’m sorry for her and her husband. I pray something positive will come out of this.”
He said he was satisfied with the plea deal.
Gaddy has to comply with special conditions of probation for sex offenders, although Baldwin said she can live at home with her children after serving the prison term. She will have a psycho-sexual evaluation after her release and must complete any recommended counseling.
Gaddy would have received a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison without parole if she had been convicted of aggravated child molestation.
“It has the effect of coercion in many cases, this included, when you’re facing that kind of sentence,” said defense attorney William Kirby II of Columbus. “I’ve handled a number of death penalty cases and it’s a similar kind of thing when there’s a threat of death.”
Kirby had said he feared his client might die in prison if she had to serve 25 years.
“Based on the facts of this case, that is nonsense,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Monique Kirby said of the coercion claim.
She said Gaddy starting texting the victim several hundred times per week from her cell phone during the 2007-08 school year when she had him as a student in social studies. The contact became physical on May 20, 2008, and she bought him clothes and cell phones.
From May to July 2008, Gaddy sent 5,761 text messages to the victim, Kirby said, and “there were many lengthy phone calls at night” when her husband was at work.
Gaddy performed oral sex on the boy about five times in her car and residence, Kirby said.
“She would get students out of class to deliver letters” to the boy that were “like a girlfriend would write to a boyfriend,” she said.
Some of the students couldn’t refrain from reading the letters and would have testified during the trial, Kirby said.
After her arrest, Gaddy admitted to the victim’s father and brother that she was guilty, but said her medication “made me do it,” Monique Kirby said.
During her recitation of the evidence to Baldwin, defense attorney Kirby objected, saying, “She’s gone far beyond the factual basis (for the plea). It becomes difficult not to comment.”
Gaddy rejected the first plea bargain offer of eight years in prison and seven years’ probation.
Joel Martin can be reached at jmartin@lagrangenews. com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 235.