Europeans supporting former Polk teacher jailed for sex with students

Tens of thousands signing online petitions to free Jennifer Fichter

Former Polk teacher begged for mercy and forgiveness at sentencing hearing.

Polk County, FL (WFLA) – Tens of thousands of people overseas are banning together in an effort to free a former Polk County teacher from prison.  Last week Jennifer Fichter was sentenced to 22 years for having sex with three of her high school students.  Her tearful apology to a victim’s mother, her own family and the judge came just before the 30-year old learned her fate.

“She was the adult, she was the teacher she wasn’t supposed to be putting her students in these types of situations,” a state prosecutor told the judge just before he delivered the sentence last Thursday. It wasn’t long after the news broke that outrage grew half the world away. Nickola Bashenko is one of the tens of thousands across Europe going online to air frustrations over outcome of the Jennifer Fichter case. “She just needs help from doctor, medicine,” Bashenko said.

He created a Free Jennifer Fichter Facebook page where people are meeting to talk about what they can do now to help her.  They believe this is a case of consenting adults looking for love and that the woman shouldn’t have to pay for it prison. In our culture we consider 17-year-olds kids adults,” page member Katya Kuznetsova said. “They’re completely prepared to be responsible for their actions and to be members of this society,” she added.  “Jennifer Fichter didn’t hurt anyone either mentally or physically; she hasn’t done any harm to anybody.  Obviously she needed some psychological help but nobody helped her.”

But some argue Fichter’s supporters are just showing off a double standard.  Billy Moore said in part, “If this was the other way around and a male teacher had sex with three underage girls, you’d be telling them to hang him and hang him high.” Jennifer Fichter could be looking at even more time.  She still has charges to face in Hillsborough County. That case goes to court later this month.

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