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Mom says light sentence sends wrong message about student-teacher sex

Posted at 9:35 AM, Aug 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-14 09:35:32-04

by Bill Sheil

ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) –  A former Cleveland-area teacher will serve three years on probation for sexual battery regarding one of her students – a sentence the victim’s mother calls a slap on the wrist.

Constance Yacabozzi, 28, told the court that, “words cannot express how remorseful I am.”

But the victim’s mother, Margie Mahaffey, asked the judge to send Yacabozzi to jail for violating her son.

“If this were a 28-year-old male (teacher) with a 17-year-old girl, a junior, this would not even be a question,” Mahaffey told the court.

But Judge Mark Betleski said the law makes him consider certain factors and he found that Yacabozzi has no criminal history and is unlikely to repeat her offense.

“The factors are the factors,” the judge said.

After he pronounced the probation sentence, the Mahaffey family walked out of court.
Later, in an interview with FOX 8, Margie Mahaffey said the sentence sends the wrong message.

“It sends a message to…teachers, ‘go ahead and have sex with students.’ What about all the other young boys and girls watching? – hey, you know what, it’s not that big of a deal,” said Mahaffey.

Yacabozzi will be on probation for three years, will have to perform 100 hours of community service, and will have to register as a sex offender.