Last Friday, a former Kennedale High School teacher’s trial—filled with graphic testimony and an alleged cellphone video of the woman having group sex with four students—concluded with a five-year prison sentence.
Brittni Colleps, a 28-year-old mother of three, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since each of the five young men she had sex with was 18 or older, she was not charged with statutory rape.
The group sex occurred at the English teacher’s home in April and May 2011, while her children and Army specialist husband were away, prosecutors said.
Three of Colleps’ former students testified at the trial. All of them stressed that they did not consider themselves victims and did not want to see their former teacher prosecuted.
Christopher Colleps, Brittni’s husband, told the jurors that both he and his wife were “swingers” who had multiple sex partners and engaged in legal group sex with other couples. Although he said he felt wronged by her actions, he will stand by his wife. “Brittni saved my life before I met her,” he said. “I was doing bad things and when I met Brittni she gave me someone to love and care about.”
This sort of teacher sex scandal has prompted debate about whether male and female offenders are treated differently. “Why is it when a man rapes a little girl, he goes to jail,” CNN’s Nancy Grace mused in 2005, “but when a woman rapes a boy, she had a breakdown?”
There are salient differences between men and women when it comes to sex offenses. For starters, men are far more likely to commit sexual assault than women are, accounting for 96 percent of the total. They are also rearrested much more frequently.
Here are five other Texas teachers from past years who were accused of bad behavior:
This Spanish teacher and cross-country coach (and former Miss Texas contestant) made national news in June 2006 when she was charged for having sex with an 18-year-old student. McElhenney’s story was featured on Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and Court TV as they debated the 2003 Texas law that bans sexual relationships between students and teachers, even if the student is of legal age. A Denton County grand jury declined to indict the then-26-year-old Hebron High School teacher, who instead lost her teaching certificate.
A west Houston middle school teacher, Murray was originally charged in February when allegations surfaced that she had sex with her 15-year-old student at his home. Police now say that the 29-year-old eighth-grade teacher had sex with the same boy on two other occasions, once in her classroom at Memorial Middle School and once at a hotel on the night of a school dance. Murray had closed her bank account and was planning to fly to Mexico at the time of her arrest, prosecutors have said. Murray remains free on $200,000 bail (and wears a GPS monitor) as she awaits trial.
Tiffanie Kay Bedinger
In June, this former Richmond High School varsity cheerleading coach pleaded guilty to having sex with a 17-year-old student, who she said she befriended to help him curb his marijuana use. Bedinger, 45, has been sentenced to five years’ probation. According to the affidavit, the two had unprotected sex several times at her home between February and April. The teen also told authorities the two became close during his junior and senior years, and that Bedinger “was kinda like my mom.”
This scandal surfaced when Riojas’s teenage victim came forward in November 2010, fearing he could be the father of the 25-year-old Fort Worth teacher’s unborn child. The student told police they had sex in motels and even once in a hospital bed, where he was recovering from a football injury. The former ninth-grade science teacher plead guilty to an improper relationship with her 16-year-old student, in return for six years probation. But her lawyer says that the teen could not be the baby’s father—their last sexual encounter was in January 2009, and she gave birth exactly a year later.
This special education teacher in the Lexington school district was charged in March with aggravated sexual assault after being accused of having sexual relations with a both a 13 and a 14-year-old boy. Lopez, 32, tutored one boy in math at his home. The student said Lopez “would treat me like a boyfriend and touch my leg sometimes,” according the the arrest affidavit. The pair exchanged 841 text messages in the month leading up to the alleged assault. Police say that on February 11, Lopez arrived at the home of the boy’s 13-year-old friend with condoms, and proceeded to have sex with both students.