Judge denies request for former Polk teacher to have shorter sentence

Jennifer Fichter, Polk County Jail booking photos
Jennifer Fichter, Polk County Jail booking photos

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A judge has denied the motion for a reduced sentence in the case of a former Polk County English teacher convicted of having sex with multiple students. The decision was announced in court Tuesday just after noon.

After the ruling emotions flared outside of the courtroom between the parents of one of the victims, and Fichter’s family. “Your daughter put us in a really bad predicament. We had to make a decision that affected another person’s life. We made that decision because your daughter put us in that predicament,” a man yelled at the Fichter family.

Jennifer Fichter was sentenced to 22 years in prison last year, after she admitted to having sex with at least three students. She also admitted that she slept with one of them 20 to 30 times.

Fichter asked for a reduction in her sentence, claiming the victims were willing participants, and she need to be out in order to see appropriate treatment.

The defense called only one person to testify, Dr. Richard Marshall, a neuro and forensic psychologist. Dr. Marshall testified that men typically engage in sexual relationships with minors for predatory and self-satisfying reasons. He went on to say that women are less predatory, less opportunistic, and seem to get engaged in these relationships for emotional rather than sexual reasons. He also said men are the ones that typically re-offend.

Dr. Marshall also testified that Fichter would be a good candidate for treatment because she admitted to what she did. “She doesn’t have intellectual disabilities or psychotic conditions, and that makes her amenable to treatment,” he said.

State Prosecutor Ashley Krieger argued that Fichter is in fact a predator.

“We know she had three victims. They were teenage boys, students. How is this not predatory behavior?” Krieger asked as she cross-examined Dr. Marshall.

After hearing both sides, the judge denied the motion for a reduced sentence. Fichter will continue serving a 22-year sentence. Her attorney has 30 days to appeal.

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