LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A former Lake Charles Charter Academy teacher has been sentenced for three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
Sommer Odom, of Iowa, was arrested in April 2015 after a student's mother claimed Odom had inappropriate contact with her juvenile son on several occasions. She was fired shortly after her arrest.
The 38-year-old, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison with all but 18 months suspended. Upon release she will be on four years supervised probation. She had faced up to 10 years in prison on each oral sexual battery charge, 5-10 years on each molestation charge and 10 years on the charge of sexual battery.
Mothers of two boys gave emotional testimony saying how Odom betrayed their trust and how the boys and families have suffered as prosecutor Denisse Parrales explains.
"She endeared herself to the families, developed what would be a trusting relationship and preyed upon that relationship and preyed upon these children," said Parrales.
Back in 2012, while teaching she spoke on camera about a mission trip to Haiti.
"Going to get an opportunity to share the knowledge that we have here with them over there and just work with the children one on one," she said then.
But now Odom heads to prison. Parrales says one of the boys was so traumatized he didn't go to high school.
"She preyed on them as a trusted adult, and the effect that that had on these boys, these are the formative years, and the event was tremendous. One of these victims did not attend high school," said Parrales.
In court, photos were submitted showing her at youth athletic events after being warned not to be around children. Parrales describes her as obstinate and belligerent.
"She really should not be around children. That was a condition of her bond, basically. But she doesn't believe that the rules apply to her. She doesn't believe she did anything wrong," said Parrales.
Odom's attorney, Walt Sanchez, said in court she was at the parks to watch her own children play.
In passing sentence, Judge Wyatt warned Odom, if she violates the terms of her eventual release she will face him again.
According to court records the incidents occurred between January 5 and April 18, 2015.
Odom was immediately taken into custody.