Substitute teacher who admitted to sex with students gets no jail time

Heidi Verrett_1554505380622.jpg_80835794_ver1.0_640_360_1554513574086.jpg_80845007_ver1.0_640_360_1554519693449.jpg.jpg
February 07 2021 03:30 pm

HOUMA, La. (WWL-TV) – A substitute teacher who confessed to having sex with three underage students in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana won’t spend any time in jail and won’t have to register as a sex offender.

Heidi Verrett, a Terrebonne Parish substitute teacher and teacher’s aid, was arrested in 2016 for having sex with three boys, ranging in age from 15 to 16-years-old, in her East Houma home.

“Why would you do something like this?” Contadina Maneul, one of the victim’s mothers asked. “You have children of your own! Why would you do this to other people’s children?”

Police say all the victims lived in Verrett’s neighborhood and were friends with her own children.

“She’s a predator,” the mother of another victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “It wasn’t just one child. It was multiple kids.”

As part of the deal with prosecutors, 34-year-old Verrett pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

A judge sentenced her to just two years of unsupervised probation. And in a move that stunned this group of mothers, Verrett does not have to register as a sex offender.

“I’m disappointed,” Manuel said. “I feel that it’s not fair. She should have to register as a sex offender.”

The mother of another victim, who asked to remain anonymous, called Verrett’s punishment an outrage.

“I don’t know if it’s the fact that she’s a woman that they didn’t take this case seriously,” she said.

Terrebonne Assistant District Attorney Dennis Elfert admitted there was serious evidentiary issue with the case.

“The plea offer was discussed with the mothers of the victims,” Elfert said. “Everybody understood and everybody agreed with the offer.”

But the mothers maintain not having to register as a sex offender was never part of the deal.

“You’re giving her the chance to molest again, to offend again,” one mother said.

Verrett is barred from teaching for two years while on probation. Prosecutors say they’ve been assured Verrett won’t work in the Terrebonne School System again.

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