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Pamela Rogers was convicted of four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure back in 2005. The former McMinnville phys-ed teacher had sex with a 13-year-old student who attended the Centerville Elementary School where she taught.
In the original plea agreement, Rogers spent six months in jail and would spend the rest of her eight-year sentence on probation. But within a month of release on good behavior, she immediately re-contacted the victim, sending "lewd" photographs and videos of herself and texting and emailing the boy, in spite of a court order to end all contact.
Because of her probation violation, her original sentence of eight years was amended to 10 years in prison. In February 2008, she sought parole and was denied. The parole board had the option of allowing Rogers a new parole hearing within one to six years of that date. The board chose the maximum limit, setting her next date of eligibility for parole in 2014--a few months before she'd ostensibly get out of prison anyway.
Today, her lawyer argued on her behalf that because the next parole hearing date would occur mere months before she would ostensibly be released anyway, she should be given a shot at an earlier hearing date--within three years of her first parole hearing back in 2008.
"If she had abided by the conditions of the probation and done her six months and not gotten into any more trouble, that would have been a relatively light sentence," says Rogers' lawyer, Peter Strianse. "But given the intervening probation violation and new charges, it's turned into this 10-year nightmare and a parole board afraid to do anything in the glare of the TV cameras. Then they come up with this cutesy parole-date thing, but it's just an illusory date."
Today, the court decided that illusory date should stick, denying Rogers an earlier hearing.
"The court concludes that the facts of the probation violation are so extreme, that [it] is neither unreasonable, nor a clear error of judgment, to require the petitioner to serve six more years of prison time, before release can even be reconsidered, to lessen the likelihood that she will reoffend," read the court's opinion.
"The problem was the violation of the probation and the additional charges," Strianse says. "What was a very good, almost benign settlement has turned into an extremely harsh penitentiary sentence."