Ex-teacher gets 10 years in jail

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A former Harlem High School teacher who had sex with a student was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday.

Chase  File/Staff
File/Staff
Chase

Melissa L. Chase, 29, stood trembling before the judge, dressed in a jail uniform of bright orange cotton smock and pants, her hands and feet chained.

She blamed no one but herself, apologizing profusely to her victim, family, friends, supporters and former peers - those hurt because of her selfishness, she said. As her supporters in Richmond County Superior Court cried, Ms. Chase apologized for the embarrassment she had caused. She spoke of her shame in seeing her parents in tears begging a judge for mercy. She asked for none for herself.

In a Richmond County bench trial in June, Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. found Ms. Chase guilty of sexual assault against a student enrolled in school. She had a single sexual encounter last year with a 16-year-old girl. The teenager had been one of her students the previous year.

What she did was wrong, her supporters said in court Friday, but it shouldn't cancel out all of the good she has done.

Her minister spoke of her remorse; a former colleague spoke of how much Ms. Chase had given and how she has lost a profession she loved; and the mother of a former student told of how much Ms. Chase had done for students to help them bring out the best in themselves.

"Ms. Chase is an absolute outstanding individual," said her attorney Greg Leopard.

Assistant District Attorney Adam King said it wasn't a matter of trying to say Ms. Chase was a bad person, but she committed a crime, regardless of what one might think of the law.

"Our hands are tied by the law," he said.

Judge Brown agreed. He said state legislators have taken a strong stand against sexual offenses, especially those involving children and those committed against people in a position ripe for coercion, such as schools.

He sentenced Ms. Chase to 10 years in prison - the mandatory minimum sentence - followed by five years of probation.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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dbizzel
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dbizzel 08/06/07 - 04:15 pm
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The end result of the

The end result of the sentencing hearing for Ms. Chase was traumatic for those who hold her dear. She is a good person, teacher and friend. She's not violent or a danger anyone. As I read the law she had to meet all 6 requirements to receive the ten year sentence; she barely met one. Ms. Chase has already paid dearly for her actions. Let's not forget it takes two. This was consensual. Where is the penalty for the girl. She should not be thought of as a victim. As she testified "I pushed and I pushed her". Teachers that have her as a student in the future better watch their backs. As for the assistant DA Adam lacKing, I hope that he has a daughter and someday learns that what goes around comes around. I am so angry at his lack of compassion and his abundance of arrogance in his behavior toward Melissa at the hearing, He's made a name for himself that is unprintable at the expense of a wonderful person. And if any one out there has names of the right legislators please lets see their names. If there is anybody out there who wants to rip into me for my comments on this post, go for it.

shrty001423
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shrty001423 08/07/07 - 09:37 am
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dbizzel, well said... you are

dbizzel, well said... you are 100% right and regardless of who on here in ignorant enough to try to rip your comments apart, they cannot. you know the truth....

buddhababy
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buddhababy 08/09/07 - 06:45 am
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Chase is no more a " sexual

Chase is no more a " sexual predator" than Santa Clause is. Our judicial system is more like a witch hunt. Anybody can make a charge, if something happens in their life that they don't like. Our judicial system is not protecting people, it's making them victims! Last I heard consenual means both parties agreed. So, if both parties are of a consenting age, why is one person in jail? Georgia, and every other state in this union needs a judicial makeover!

edamrauer
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edamrauer 08/10/07 - 08:11 am
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It's so good to come back

It's so good to come back here, after the hearing, and see my old friends, Patriciathomas and Rose. Patricia, I respect what you say. I may not agree with it, hence the fun of our bantering back and forth, but I respect it. Rose..I see you're STILL talking out of ignorance and, well, Nancy Grace shows where you get all your information from. For those of you who have decided COACH Chases fate all on your own, please learn the actual truth before you speak. There will be an appeal and this ridiculous 10 year sentence will be pitched out with the rest of the garbage, and some of the comments on here, and we'll be celebrating her release in a couple of years. Yes, Rose, I know, it's a minimum mandatory sentence, thank you for informing us all of that a million times. COACH Chase has a right to an appeal and she'll get it. I have that much faith. I also saw someone brought up Terri. How dare you. Let her rest in peace. It's easy to get defensive from ignorant comments but I won't. I'll simply say that I love COACH Chases family and I stand behind HER and THEM ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!

shrty001423
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shrty001423 08/10/07 - 08:59 am
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welcome back edam... nicely

welcome back edam... nicely said as always

edamrauer
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edamrauer 08/11/07 - 07:10 am
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Shrty, good to see you, love!

Shrty, good to see you, love! Thanks for the support....it's good to know I'm not the only on practicing ju jitsu around here! LOL

dbizzel
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dbizzel 08/11/07 - 10:25 am
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edamrauer, I don't know who

edamrauer, I don't know who you are yet but thanks for your comments.

edamrauer
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edamrauer 08/14/07 - 10:50 pm
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Dbizzel, i'm someone special

Dbizzel, i'm someone special to the family. We'll meet soon!

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