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Hannity

H&C Probes Teacher Sex Scandals

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 2, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The phenomenon of older women teachers engaging in sex acts with their underage male students, it's become a very disturbing trend. And all this week we're going to be exposing such abuse in our schools.

Tonight, we bring you the story of a 29-year-old substitute high school teacher named Cameo Patch. Cameo Patch was found guilty of engaging in sex acts with a 17-year-old student.

The Utah teacher will not serve any time behind bars for her crime, despite comments from the judge that the same acts would have landed a man in prison.

Joining us now is the Tooele County, Utah, deputy attorney who prosecuted the case David Cundick is with us. David, you know, I read over this case. The student was 17 years old. I know it didn't happen on the school property. They met privately here.

But what's surprising to me is why just a misdemeanor? You were involved in the case. You dropped it down from the original charge, why?

DAVID CUNDICK, DEPUTY ATTORNEY, TOOLE COUNTY: Let me indicate this. Cameo Patch was originally charged with a third-degree felony, unlawful sexual activity. Pursuant to plea negotiations, and with the consent of the victim, we had her plead to a Class A.

This was based in large part upon the fact that, under Utah law, in order to prevail at trial I would have had to show that the defendant knew that the victim was 18 — was under the age of 18.

HANNITY: She was each teacher in the same school. She didn't know he was a student?

CUNDICK: Well, he was a senior, and many seniors turn 18. And in fact, he represented to her that he was 18. And...

HANNITY: But wait a minute. I think you would have had a pretty strong case to make that she should have at least investigated that, that she had a responsibility to do so. I think that would have been a pretty strong case. One of the problems is...

CUNDICK: Absolutely. And let me just indicate. Let me just indicate this. That is the argument I used to bring in the charges in the first place. I certainly considered that in bringing the charges.

HANNITY: But isn't it better that if the woman is having sex with a 17-year-old, and by dropping this, the charge, you know — the original charge would have required her to register as a sex offender.

Wouldn't it be better that if a teacher is that old, having sex with a high school student, wouldn't it have been better for the community and better for kids to have that added protection? Wouldn't that ultimately have been worth pursuing, considering when you drop the charge it's pretty much meaningless?

CUNDICK: Absolutely. That would be the ultimate resolution. But understand this. I mean, any time you go to trial there is a risk. And in this case there was an issue of whether or not she would be found guilty.

The case certainly depended upon the jury and depended upon, you know, speculation whether the jury would have come back with a guilty verdict.

COLMES: Why would the jury — this is Alan. Welcome to the show.

CUNDICK: Not a slam dunk.

COLMES: Why would a jury not convict a teacher who has sex with a student?

CUNDICK: Right. Inasmuch as this, as I indicated, this individual represented to this teacher that he was 18. And I'm sorry. I lost my train of thought.

COLMES: Did you also claim that the teacher was not in a position of trust because she was a substitute teacher. And so you couldn't make that claim, and that hurt the validity of the case as well?

CUNDICK: Exactly. And that was another argument. But this was something that — she was a substitute teacher. He was in her class weeks prior to this incident. This occurred outside of the school. They met at a restaurant called Applebee's. And again, the issue of position of trust is something to be decided.

COLMES: Isn't a substitute teacher also a person in a position of trust, even though it is not the regular teacher? You would presume a substitute teacher evokes trust, as well.

CUNDICK: Could be. Again, it might not be. It's a question of fact for a jury to decide. But understand this, I mean, what we wanted to do was ensure that we got a conviction on this case.

And this was the best way to proceed as far as the victim. The victim was — this is something the victim wanted. It was something that we entered into after negotiations. And...

COLMES: Very quickly, the fact that this was reduced to a misdemeanor and sentenced to no contact and paid a small fine and it was a lesser charge than some would have wanted. What signal does that send to the community?

CUNDICK: It was one degree lesser crime. We went from a third-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor. That is one degree less.

COLMES: So what is the signal there, do you think? What does that tell the community?

CUNDICK: Well, it tells the community this — and that is that when allegations are brought we can take them seriously. And we prosecute them to the fullest extent we can.

HANNITY: Only $1,500 fine. No contact with the victim is basically the same as having nothing. In that sense it would be worth the risk. We've got to run, prosecutor. But we appreciate you coming on. Thanks.

Sad it's happening all around the country. We'll have more on our series coming up later this week.

Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

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