Former Northwest teacher sentenced for sex with student

Raquel Eleana Spencer

A former Northwest Whitfield High School teacher has been sentenced to 10 years with 120 days of detention and the rest on probation after pleading guilty Friday to sexual assault by a person with supervisory and disciplinary authority, according to the Whitfield County clerk of court's office.

Raquel Eleana Spencer must serve 90 to 120 days in a probation detention center, a highly-structured, minimum security facility that provides counseling, life skills classes and substance abuse counseling. She must also pay a $1,000 fine plus court costs and surcharges, perform 300 hours of community service and observe all sex offender special conditions of probation.

A second charge against her, for possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance, was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Spencer was an English teacher at Northwest. She resigned after being arrested at the school on April 25 of last year for possession of heroin after school officials notified the sheriff's office she appeared to be under the influence.

She was indicted by a Whitfield County grand jury last year. According to one indictment, Spencer had sexual intercourse with a student who attended the high school, "with supervisory and disciplinary authority over (the) individual." The indictment specified the relationship as between Oct. 1, 2017, and April 8, 2018. During the investigation into the heroin, the sexual relationship with the student was discovered through a search of her phone.

Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Judy Gilreath said Friday afternoon she did not know enough about the details of the case to say whether the sentence was fair.

"But I do hope that she gets the treatment and help she needs," Gilreath said.

District Attorney Bert Poston and Spencer's attorney did not immediately return telephone messages left at their offices Friday afternoon.

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