MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — A former assistant principal accused of performing sex acts with three male students at a Hemet high school pleaded guilty to statutory rape on Monday.
Erin Renee Henton, 45, was sentenced to a year in prison with 36 months probation as part of a plea deal, in which 11 other felony counts were dropped.
Henton could have faced a sentence of over 30 years in prison had she gone to trial and been convicted of seven counts of unlawful intercourse with a minor, four counts of oral copulation of a minor and one count of distributing pornographic material to a child.
Prosecution and defense both informed Riverside County Superior Court Judge Dennis McConaghy that a plea deal had been agreed upon as the defendant's preliminary hearing was about to begin.
"We agreed to the plea after first consulting with the victims and their families," district attorney's spokesman John Hall told City News Service.
"Two of them agreed it was an appropriate disposition, and the third (victim) was unable to be contacted," Hall said. "The plea keeps the victims from having to go through testifying at a trial, and it also means that the defendant should never be able to teach or be a school administrator again."
Stephen Cline, Henton's attorney, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Through the deal, Henton pleaded guilty to statutory rape under the agreement that the prosecution drop the remaining charges. Henton's sentence prohibits her from employment in any capacity that involves the supervision or care of minors.
The terms of the agreement, which was certified by McConaghy, also mandate that the defendant complete 25 sex addiction therapy classes between the date of sentence (Monday) and August 29, 2014. Throughout the remainder of her probation, Henton must maintain status as a registered sex offender.
Anyone convicted of a variety of sexual offenses in the state of California is required to register their address with law enforcement and notify authorities whenever they relocate, under Penal Code section 290.
According to Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart, the three boys, whose identities have not been released, attended Tahquitz High School, where Henton served as vice principal up until the time of her arrest.
"The incidents are believed to have occurred over several months," Wisehart said earlier. "The incidents did not occur on the school campus."
Authorities suspect other students may have been victimized, but did not come forward.
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