PROVO, Utah (News4Utah) – A teacher who pleaded guilty last year for having sex with two of her students is headed to prison.
Sarah Lindsay Lewis, 29, was sentenced to just 60 days in jail, three years probation and 13 years on the sex offender registry list for her crimes after her lawyer found a flaw in the laws that eventually lowered her first degree felony to a third degree felony.
During her probation however, Lewis was arrested and charged for distribution of drugs, once in July and again in August of this year.
On Tuesday Judge Powell revoked Lewis’s probation and she was ordered to serve 0-5 years in prison.
Lewis is still going through the court system on her drug related charges and has a pre-trial conference scheduled for October 22.
SPANISH FORK (ABC4 Utah) – Sarah Lewis was set free early on Wednesday after serving 194 days in jail. Lewis pleaded guilty to having sex with two of her 17-year-old students and giving one of them vodka this past December.
She got early release because of two conflicting laws that lawmakers weren’t even aware of.
Lewis was sentenced back in January under a 2015 statute of the Utah legal code. The law made it clear that the minors she engaged with could not give consent and therefore, she was charged with the first degree felony of rape. During negotiations, Lewis pleaded guilty and her charge was lowered to a second degree felony with up to 15 years of jail time.
Her charge was lowered again this week after her lawyer, Tom Means, did some digging. He found a 2014 statute that defined her relationship with her students as a “position of trust.” The older law may sound more serious, but it gives a specific penalty for her crime–one that is lower than what the judge originally decided. Her lawyer was able to exploit this discrepancy between the laws to get her out early.
On Monday, the court agreed to lower her charge to a third degree felony. Her sentence became just 60 days in jail, which she had already served, plus three years probation and 13 years on the sex offender registry list.
ABC4 reached out to the creators of the 2014 legislation for this story and they were surprised. This is the first time these laws have been used in court to reduce jail time. They say they plan to look into what changes need to be made.
The 2014 legislation was created to increase the charges for sexual conduct between a school staff member and a student.