July 15, 2006 — -- Former gym teacher Pamela Rogers tearfully apologized in court Friday, but that didn't stop a judge from sending her right back to prison, giving her a seven-year sentence on charges that she sent explicit photos to a young teenager while on probation for having sex with him.
"I am so sorry to all the people that I affected and hurt," sobbed Rogers, a 29-year-old former beauty queen.
In February 2005, Rogers, 28, was arrested and charged with 15 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and 13 counts of statutory rape for her relationship with a student at Centertown Elementary in McMinnville, Tenn., where she taught physical education. A judge sentenced Rogers to serve nine months of an eight-year prison sentence and ordered her never to contact the boy again.
After serving about seven months, Rogers was released in February for good behavior. However, Rogers was then arrested twice for violating the terms of her probation by trying to get in touch with her victim -- the first time through her home page on MySpace.com and the second by sending him a graphic cell phone video of herself dancing suggestively.
So why would Rogers keep in touch with her former student instead of just letting go?
"I think that was the question that the court struggled with," Peter Strianse, Rogers' defense attorney, told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "As you know, we had reached a very favorable plea agreement with the state in this case. She faced a pretty big sentence if she had gone to trial and been convicted, and [we] were able to keep a lot of control by the plea agreement. But obviously, because of the issues that she has, she was unable to live up to the terms and conditions of the agreement."
Joan Schleicher, a clinical psychologist testifying for the defense, said of Rogers's behavior, "I think the best diagnosis for her for the result we see in why we are here today is sexual addiction."
But the judge did not buy it, and neither did the victim's family.
"You have done everything except show this court that you wanted to rehabilitate yourself," said Warren County, Tenn., Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley.
"All I want to do," said the victim's father, "is [have Rogers] leave my son and my daughter alone, and never have contact with them ever again."
Pamela Rogers is hardly the first female teacher to have a sexual affair with a student. Perhaps the most infamous case is Seattle teacher Mary Kay Letourneau, who became pregnant with the child of her 13-year-old student and later married him.
Rogers insists she wants to change.
"I'm willing to do anything to rehab myself. I figure if I am sent to the state prison I will not get the help that I need," she said.
But that's exactly where she will be for the next several years, and her defense attorney agrees that's not the right place for her. Strianse suggested "six months of intensive inpatient treatment, followed by intensive outpatient therapy." He said he was "not looking for the judge to send her home."
"I think she really needs help," he said. "She wasn't out of jail a few days before she contacted [the victim] again. We felt that the judge had some options yesterday at thesentencing hearing, other than just to send her to the Tennessee prison for women."
Despite Rogers's emotional display, Strianse insists she's "a very strong individual" who "handled this incarceration with great grace and dignity throughout."
"There is no suggestion that she is a pedophile," Strianse said. "There is no suggestion that she is a danger to the community at large, or children at large. Frankly, the unvarnished truth of this situation is that she has this pathetic obsession about this one individual."