Former Chilton Co. teacher sentenced to 5 years for rape, sodomy - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Former Chilton Co. teacher sentenced to 5 years for rape, sodomy

Jennifer Collins McNeill. Source: Chilton County Sheriff's Office Jennifer Collins McNeill. Source: Chilton County Sheriff's Office
CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

A former Chilton County teacher convicted of rape and sodomy of a teen has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Jennifer McNeill, a former Thorsby teacher, was sentenced to 60 months on Thursday.

In May, she pleaded guilty to second degree rape and sodomy involving a teenage male victim who attended a different Chilton County school. She was 39 years old at the time of her arrest in August 2013.

McNeill cried in the courtroom when she addressed the court and begged for mercy. She apologized for lying about Facebook posts that delayed her sentencing for a few weeks.

The posts indicated that McNeill was innocent, and her attorney originally said the victim in the case and his mother hacked McNeill's Facebook account to make the posts. The family of the victim denied those claims.

McNeill's attorney also apologized to the judge in court on Thursday, saying her client misrepresented herself about the Facebook posts. Those posts have been withdrawn from the case.

The mother of the victim in the case also addressed the court before McNeill's sentencing. She said she and McNeill had been friends for 10 years and attended the same church, where McNeill was also a Sunday School teacher.

The victim's mom said she is taking her son to counseling to deal with the abuse. She added that she had lost her job over the case. The victim's mom asked the court not to show any mercy to McNeill.

The judge agreed to stand by McNeill's original plea deal, which sentenced her to five years, but said she will serve the full term in prison.

The judge said McNeill had a moral responsibility to her community and church and she misused that trust.

The original plea deal of five years allowed McNeill to only spend two and a half years in prison and the rest under house arrest, but the judge ruled that she will have to serve the five years in prison.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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