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Sex with student sends teacher to jail

LAWRENCEVILLE - A former Meadowcreek High School teacher will soon be going to prison for having sex last year with a then-17-year-old student who fathered her 4-month-old baby.

Angela Christine Coffey, 34, pleaded guilty July 18 to sexual assault on a person in custody, said David Keeton, senior assistant district attorney. She was sentenced to serve a year in prison and two years on probation.

"In a relative sense, she's doing OK," said her attorney, Ash Joshi. "She's lost her profession. She's lost at least a year with her daughter. It's a very difficult time, but she'll survive. ... She's a strong woman."

Joshi said he is appreciative of the way the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office and the Superior Court Judge Thomas Davis Jr. handled the case.

"We feel it was a fair resolution," he said. "They took a lot into account. There was no rush to judgment, and she's very appreciative of that."

Gwinnett County police began investigating the relationship after the teen's mother complained she caught Coffey alone with her son, Keeton said. The boy did not cooperate with the investigation, but his friends told police the pair had a sexual relationship, Keeton said.

Coffey admitted to police that she had sex with the teen, Keeton said. She resigned Oct. 13 from Gwinnett County Public Schools, where she had worked as a teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages. Joshi said she also voluntarily relinquished her teaching certificate.

Coffey gave birth to the teen's child in April, Keeton said. The girl is being cared for by some of Coffey's relatives who live out of state, Joshi said.

Although the age of sexual consent in Georgia is 16, the law prohibits teachers from having sex with students.

Coffey is being housed in the Gwinnett County jail until state authorities transfer her to prison, said Stacey Bourbonnais, spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department.

Once she is released from prison, Coffey will have to register as a sex offender, pay a fine and serve 80 hours of community service, Keeton said. She will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18 during her sentence, and she cannot reapply for a teaching certificate.