Ex-teacher's sex-case sentencing put off

awilson1@herald-leader.comDecember 5, 2009 

Attorneys in the case of former teacher Roberta Blackwell Walter — accused of molesting a 15-year-old student 30 years ago — will return to court in a month to continue discussing a possible plea and punishment in the case.

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael asked the defendant's attorney and the prosecutor to come back with more information so he can hand down a sentence that is fair to all parties.

Walter, 63, was charged in July 2007 with felony third-degree sodomy and third-degree rape. She is accused of molesting Carol Lynne Maner, now 46, in 1978. The charges were reduced to two misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct, to which Walter pleaded guilty. Madison and Clark County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Thom Smith, a special prosecutor in the case, promised Walter a probated sentence in exchange for her testimony in another former teacher's sexual abuse trial.

Walter testified against Jack Russell Hubbard, and in the process admitted her crimes against Maner.

Hubbard was convicted of raping and sodomizing Maner and a ninth-grader, Thomas "Beau" Goodman III, while Hubbard was a science teacher at Beaumont Junior High School in 1978. He was sentenced to 61/2 years in prison, the maximum allowed.

In late October, when Walter came forward for sentencing, Ishmael refused to accept Smith's recommendation of probation, insisting that Walter serve jail time.

In response, Walter changed her plea to the reduced charges to not guilty.

Smith said the court is looking for a punishment that is acceptable to the "victim, the judge and to the community. ... We're just trying to get justice done."

A status hearing on the matter is set for Jan. 22.

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