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Teacher gets 120 days for statutory rape

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

In Platte County Circuit Court on Friday, a former Park Hill teacher was sentenced to 120 days of shock time in the Platte County Jail on four counts of second-degree statutory rape.

Rachelle L. Hernandez, 31, admitted having sex with a 14-year old boy she taught as a special-education teacher at Plaza Middle School in the Park Hill School District. The incidents happened at motels between Aug. 1, 2000 and early 2001.

Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. ordered Hernandez to serve four months in jail and five years of probation.

"I wish she would have gotten more, but I understand the sentencing," Platte County Prosecutor Tammy Glick told The Landmark this week.

Glick had told the judge her office agreed to probation if Hernandez also received some jail time.

Hernandez is also to have no unsupervised contact with children under 18, perform 100 hours of community service, and receive counseling. She was also forced to forfeit her Missouri teaching license.

During the 3½ hour sentencing hearing, Hernandez' pastor and family, including her husband, testified on her behalf and asked the judge not to separate her from her one-year-old daughter.

James Hernandez said that he and his wife tried to help the 14-year-old boy, as they had other troubled students. He testified that he and his wife were having marital problems due to a miscarriage when the incidents took place.

Hernandez is due this week in a Clay County court to face sentencing on a second-degree statutory rape charge in that county, involving the boy when he was 15. Hernandez has also pleaded guilty to that charge. Those incidents took place in her Oakwood home while she was on bond in the Platte County case. She served 57 days in jail before being released on bond after her Clay County charge.

Glick explained that Hernandez does not get credit for those 57 days of jail time.

"Her sentence is for 120 days beginning last Friday," Glick said, explaining that credit for previous days served is not an option on shock incarceration.

Glick said family members of the victim had indicated they are satisfied with the sentence. The boy was in the courthouse but not in the courtroom at the time of Friday's hearing, she said.

Hernandez in court apologized to the boy and his mother.

If Hernandez violates her probation, she faces four years in prison.