Through tears, Hunter Day on Friday admitted that she was not prepared to be a teacher and took on too much responsibility in becoming a teacher.
That decision, she said, allowed her to stray from her marriage and give into the temptation of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy who was one of her students at Yukon High School.
Day, who earlier had pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and soliciting sex from a minor, was sentenced to prison on Friday. She was given a 10-year sentence for each charge, with seven years suspended.
The two 10-year sentences will run simultaneously.
Day testified before District Judge Paul Hesse that when she and her husband, Tyler, moved to Yukon so that he could accept an assistant football coaching job, they felt they were headed in the right direction.
“When we went to Yukon, we thought it was going to be perfect because we had grown-up jobs for the first time. We were going to be together all the time. I had put Tyler above of God in my life. … I took my eyes off of where they needed to be,” she said.
What the couple found, instead, was that they spent less time together because of Tyler’s coaching career.
Day, who was working with emergency teaching certification, said she felt overwhelmed and not appreciated.
“I wasn’t prepared to enter the classroom. I was not prepared to take on the additional classes, but I did. I kind of wanted to prove I could still do something. I just wasn’t ready, and I did feel unsupported at times,” she said with her voice cracking.
“I felt I had taken the weight for a lot of things, and I did really feel like I was doing all of the encouraging and supporting, and wasn’t getting a whole lot of that back.”
Day said she took on extra classes, was working hard and no one noticed.
“I felt unappreciated and alone,” she said.
The student, Day said, was nice and supportive and showed interest in her.
“I couldn’t understand or imagine the consequences for your family,” she said to the student’s parents as they sat in the courtroom.
“I didn’t know what you were going through or would go through. I knew what we were experiencing. That was hard enough,” she said.
Day said having a child of her own three months ago gave her a whole new perspective into how a family could be impacted.
Day’s victim has been in treatment at an out-of-state facility since shortly after officials discovered the relationship between him and the then-22-year-old first-year teacher.
“I am truly so sorry for all the pain that I have caused you. It was never my intention,” she said.
Day sought forgiveness.
Under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Erika Simpson, Day said her relationship with the student was an error in judgment.
Day’s husband, Tyler, resigned from the school district shortly after his wife’s arrest. He accepted a similar coaching position in Ardmore, but has since resigned and is now working for a church.
He took partial blame for his wife’s actions and pleaded with the judge to show leniency.
Simpson had requested that Day be sentenced to 15 years in prison, the maximum penalty.
Day’s attorney, Tommy Adler, had requested that Day only be sentenced to probation.
In delivering the sentence, Hesse said Day violated the trust given to teachers and tainted the profession.
“The victim believed you were his emotional partner. … It is clear to me that you were not. He was simply a sex partner. That you did not share in his feelings.
“Despite his naive beliefs, there was no emotional bond between you and the victim. You are a married woman, and you used a vulnerable student for sexual gratification,” Hesse said.
He went on to say that Day’s position as a science teacher gave her access to the student and the opportunity to gain his and his parents’ trust.
“The family trusted you, the Yukon School District trusted you, the community trusted you. I don’t think any of your supporters sitting behind you would disagree that you violated the trust you had in your position of authority as a teacher,” he said.