Former Spring Branch ISD middle school teacher sentenced for having sex with student

The victim's family says her sentence isn't fair, that she would have received harsher punishment had she been a man
January 21, 2014 3:43:32 PM PST
A former middle school teacher who admitted having sex with a 15-year-old student has learned her sentence, and the young victim's parents feel like it's not enough. She got a light sentence, they say, because she's a woman.

Kathryn Murray will serve a year in custody at the Harris County Jail. After that, she will be on probation for another year. The victim's family calls that sentence light.

Murray smiled at her family as she walked out of the courtroom and into custody after sentencing. Just moments before, the victim's mother fought back tears in court.

"He's a child. Doesn't matter if people say he was 17 or 16. That's what the law says," the victim's mother said.

The boy's mother says he has tried to kill himself at least three times since Murray was arrested.

Prosecutors say Murray was 29 in February 2012 when she had sex with the teen, whom she was teaching at Memorial Middle School. Authorities say she had sex with him at least twice in her classroom and once in a hotel.

Court documents indicate she told the boy she "was in love with him."

"Being a teacher is somebody that we have to trust. We did trust Kathryn Murray," the victim's mother said. "I'm really hoping she won't ever come back near our son."

Court records say the relationship was only discovered because Murray told another teaching about kissing the student. She was fired after she was charged. She remained out on bond for a time prior to her guilty plea. During that time, she was rearrested after authorities discovered the boy with her at the home where she was staying.

The teen's parents pushed for a sentence of at least two years in prison. Murray received only a year in jail, and they say that proves a double standard.

"Had this been a 27-year-old man abusing a 15-year-old girl, the judgment in there would have been completely different," the victim's father said.

Murray also must register as a sex offender and give up her teaching certificate. She had been with Spring Branch ISD for three years and was fired after the charges

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