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Teacher of the year finalist pleads guilty to sexually assaulting student, 18-year-old victim asked judge to not punish instructor
YouTube WMUR-TV Video Screenshot

Teacher of the year finalist pleads guilty to sexually assaulting student, 18-year-old victim asked judge to not punish instructor

A teacher of the year finalist pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student, despite the victim asking for the judge not to punish the instructor. The New Hampshire teacher faced sexual assault charges for the relationship with the adult because of a relatively new law.

In March 2022, Bridgette Doucette-Howell, 40, was indicted on three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault for engaging in intercourse and a lesser count of felonious sexual assault for kissing the student.

The unidentified victim did not speak at the court hearing held on Thursday. However, he did submit an impact statement to the Rockingham Superior Court judge that asked for Doucette-Howell not to be punished for her crimes.

"I do not wish for Bridgette to be punished under criminal law for our reactions from our unhealthy circumstances of life," the student wrote.

Despite the victim's opposition to the charges, the judge sentenced Doucette-Howell to a year in jail.

According to WMUR-TV, the former teacher's plea deal means that she will only have to spend a minimum of 14 days at the House of Corrections pending good behavior. Doucette-Howell will then be sent on administrative home confinement for 50 weeks.

Doucette-Howell must also have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, except for her children. She must also register as a sex offender.

The former teacher is also required to attend mental health counseling with a therapist who is certified by the Association for Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse. She must also "meaningfully comply with all treatment recommendations."

Rockingham County Sheriff Chuck Massahos stated, "It was very important to us to see justice was served today."

"We've got a lot of hours into this case. I think we had over 400 hours into this case, just working with the state to make sure this case was presented in the right way," Massahos said.

The former teacher was charged under a relatively new law that does not factor in the age of the student in cases of sexual abuse.

Starting in January 2021, a new law went into effect that prohibits an employee, contractor, or volunteer at a primary or secondary educational institution from having sexual relationships with students, regardless of the student's age. The law means that even 18-year-olds cannot consent to sex with a teacher. The law also states that there can be no sexual encounters between teachers and students up to 10 months after the student's graduation or departure from the school.

Doucette-Howell admitted to the teacher sex scandal with her 18-year-old student in April and May 2021.

At the time of the crime, Doucette-Howell was a teacher at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, New Hampshire. She was working as a drama teacher at the school during the sexual relationship.

In 2016, Doucette-Howell was recognized as one of eight finalists for the teacher of the year award presented by the New Hampshire Department of Education. At the time, she was teaching history to special needs students.

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →