CHICO, Calif. - A former Chico teacher was sentenced to five years in state prison for sexual offenses to a former student, Butte County District Attorney said.
Jennifer Smith, 50, was a Spanish teacher at Bidwell Junior High School when she began an abusive sexual relationship with a student who turned 14 in 2010.
The victim reported the abuse in 2020 but said the abuse happened until she turned 18.
The victim said Smith began to pay more attention to her after the victim told Smith she had a turbulent home life, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said.
Smith then began spending time with the victim outside of school, including inviting the victim to family outings.
The victim then moved in with the Smith family and Smith would tell her friends and associates the victim was her daughter.
Smith regularly provided the victim with marijuana and alcohol while molesting her.
The victim described her years of abuse and the emotional toll she feels from the years of abuse by Smith in front of the court on Thursday, Ramsey said.
Another alleged victim said Smith attempted to groom her for sexual abuse years before Smith met the current victim.
Smith requested probation but it was denied as she was sentenced to the maximum term under the charges Smith pleaded to.
“Teachers who violate that trust by sexually abusing their students do great harm to their victims and their community at large,” Ramsey said. “We owe a debt of great gratitude to this brave young lady who came forward and shared her story with us. Her courage allowed us to take a dangerous predator off the streets.”