Former principal sentenced to prison
Christopher Charles Cox, 39, the former principal at the Snake River Junior High School, was sentenced Monday for one count of sexual abuse of a child under 16-years-of-age.
Seventh District Judge Gregory Moeller sentenced Cox to not less than three and not more than 18 years in the Idaho Department of Correction.
Cox was given credit for the 54 days he has already served in jail.
Cox was also fined $10,000. He must pay court costs of $150.50 and make a $375 payment to the victim's relief fund.
Cox must pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to the victim. The victim will receive that payment through her custodial parent, her father.
"This is not a replacement for restitution," said Moeller. "Restitution is set at $2,701.81."
Cox must also register as a sex offender.
In February 2012, Cox was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a child under 16 years old.
The victim was a 14-year-old eighth grader. She had confided in Cox that she had been abused by an older man.
You have lived a double life,” Moeller said. “You have been a good son, husband and father. You have been a math teacher, principal and Scout leader.
Unveiled by this event are disturbing things that happened when no one else was watching,” the judge said. “As John Wooden said, 'The true test of a man's character is when no one's around to watch.'
In your position as a principal, you were to be a shepherd to the flock,” Moeller said. “You became a wolf in sheep's clothing.
You exploited her and took advantage of her; you may have been grooming other potential victims,” the judge said. “This situation was inappropriate touching, not sexual content.
You do not fit the profile of a predator but you do fit the profile of an opportunist,” Moeller said.
I acknowledge my guilt,” said Cox. “I was arrogant and proud.
I did not fully appreciate the trust and responsibility given me, especially to the victim and her family.
I accept the full consequence of what I did,” Cox said.
The judge received 41 letters from family members and friends of Cox speaking of his character and his service to others. The judge also took into consideration the victim impact letter from the victim's step-mother.
The victim wrote two letters, one to the court and one to Cox. These letters did not deal with impact on the victim, Moeller said.
Defense attorney Justin Oleson said Cox has boundary issues and impulse control issues.
He knows he crossed the line, Oleson said. He has hurt his reputation in the community and hurt his family and other people in the community.
His marriage is stressed, Oleson said. Cox doesn't know if he's destroyed that, also, and then there are the implications on his young son.
The penalties he has put on himself will have far longer effects,” said Oleson. “He has put a lifetime of penalties on himself.”
In declaring his sentence, the judge said he took deterrence into consideration — both deterring Cox from repeating his crime and deterring other people in the community from taking advantage of young people — making Cox an example.
"You had to know [your actions] would cause harm and did cause harm,” Moeller said. “This was inexcusable behavior.
You need help,” the judge said. “You will not be released until you get help.”