FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A former North Texas high school teacher was convicted Friday and sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with five 18-year-old students at her home.
The Tarrant County jury decided on the sentence for Brittni Nicole Colleps, 28, of Arlington after nearly three hours of deliberation. It took jurors less than an hour to find her guilty earlier in the day of 16 counts of having an inappropriate relationship between a student and teacher. The second-degree felony is punishable by two to 20 years in prison per count.
The former Kennedale High School English teacher had sex with the students at her home over two months in 2011, authorities said.
Colleps is married and has three children. She turned herself in after a cellphone video of one encounter that involved multiple students emerged. That video was shown a trial.
Three former students who testified Thursday said that they did not consider themselves victims and did not want to see their former English teacher prosecuted. The three were football and track athletes.
Arlington police Detective Jason Houston testified that charges were filed because "18 or not, it's a crime" for a teacher to have sex with her students.
Two former students told jurors their relationships with Colleps began with the exchange of text messages that quickly turned sexual.
A 19-year-old testified that he had gone to Colleps' home twice with friends and they all engaged in sexual conduct.
A former student who is now 20 testified that he engaged in group sex and recorded his last encounter on a cellphone. He said initially the students spoke of the importance of keeping their activities quiet because they didn't want their teacher to get in trouble.
The 20-year-old also said when school officials called him into the office to question him in May 2011, he denied the trysts at first because "I was trying to save her."
Colleps' husband was serving in the military overseas at the time of the encounters. Christopher Colleps said Friday that he is mad at his wife, but stands by her "because 'til death do us part means 'til death do us part."
He said putting her in jail would punish him and their children for something they had no control over.
Kennedale is a town of about 7,300 residents near Arlington, eight miles southeast of Fort Worth. The high school has about 3,200 students.