Kerry H. Hoffman, the former Oakfield-Alabama band teacher who admitted May 10 to an inappropriate relationship with a female student, will serve 60-days working for the county jail on weekends, three years probation and is required to surrender his teaching credentials.
The sentence was close to what Hoffman agreed to in a plea bargain two months ago.
Rather than jail time, Justice Thomas Graham said he wanted Hoffman working for the jail, out in the community, where people could see him.
"I don't feel that jail is much of a punishment, where you can sit around playing cards and watching TV," Graham said.
Hoffman will be required to lecture twice a year on teacher ethics at a teacher's college. Graham said he wanted future teachers to learn from Hoffman's mistakes.
He will also be required to undergo sexual abuse counseling, even though it was not part of the plea agreement and the probation department pre-sentence investigation found he is highly unlikely to commit sexual abuse in the future.
Hoffman, in pleading guilty in May, did not admit to sexual relations with the girl.
When given a chance to speak prior to sentencing by Graham, Hoffman declined.
The victim's mother did speak and she accused Hoffman of destroying her relationship with her daughter.
"She won't even talk with me anymore," the mother said. "You filled her head full of lies. You told her I didn't care about her or understand her. How was I supposed to compete with that?"
Hoffman is accused of taking the girl shopping and sending her numerous text-messages.
Her friends are said to have alerted her mother about the relationship with Hoffman, whose wife gave birth to a little girl within the past year.
But both her mother and Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell describe a situation in which the girl is no longer able to attend school, that she's been robbed of her senior year, because some at the school have apparently taken Hoffman's side.
Twenty years from now when Oakfield-Alabama holds its reunion, this is going to be what she thinks about," Finnell said. "Her 20th reunion, her 30th reunion, her 50th reunion, if she even attends. It's always going to be there, what he's done to her."
If not for people coming forward and alerting her parents, Finnell said, the situation was "just a whisper away" from becoming something more serious.
Attorney Thomas D. Calandra said that in giving up his teaching credentials, Hoffman, who has no prior criminal record, will suffer punishment enough.
"He has master's degree in music that is probably of little use to him now and in the future," Calandra said.
Calandra reported that Hoffman completed three different sexual offender tests for the probation department, and in all of them he scored only one or two points (one test out of a possible 12 and another out of a possible 54).
"He's absolutely no danger to the community," Calandra said.
Graham said it was a very tough case to decide.
"You were given a position of trust," Graham said. "An educator has an extremely high level of responsibility and trust. You hurt the victim, the victim's parents, the victim's family, your wife, your daughter, your family and her family. That bond of trust was broken by you."
But, Graham noted, Hoffman has a lot going for him -- the love of his wife and support of his family, including his in-laws (his father-in-law nodded vigorously as Graham spoke).
"I can only hope that everyone can heal," Graham said. "Something that you will understand with your Christian background, Mr. Hoffman, someday you will be judged by a higher authority other than myself."