SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — A retired college professor pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges Wednesday and a former third-grade teacher pleaded no contest to exploitation and pornography charges after prosecutors said the Oklahoma teacher took photos of her students dancing in their underwear and shared them with the man in Pennsylvania.
Kimberly Crain, of Shawnee, and Gary Doby, of Bloomsburg, Pa., entered the pleas in Pottawatomie County District Court. They had been scheduled for trial Monday.
Judge John Canavan Jr. sentenced Doby to life in prison on the sexual exploitation counts and set Crain's sentencing for March 22 after ordering a pre-sentence investigation. The judge told Crain, 49, that she faces a minimum of 25 years, but the prosecutor said he'll seek the maximum.
"He (Doby) stood up and took responsibility. She didn't," District Attorney Richard Smothermon said outside court. "The only way justice is done is that they never get out prison."
Crain's voice quivered, and she appeared to tear up as she stood before the judge dressed in an orange, jail-issued jumpsuit and shackled by the wrists.
After sentencing Doby, Canavan urged him to consider the damage done to the children in the case, saying, "You're going to have a lot of time to sit there and think about what you've been doing."
"I will," he replied.
Under Oklahoma law, Doby, 66, can apply for parole in 38 years.
"He will be eligible for parole when he's 104. I don't think he's going to make it," Smothermon said.
Doby's attorney, Robert Butler, asked that Doby be confined in the Department of Corrections' sexual offenders unit.
Crain and Doby were ordered to stand trial in May on 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a child under 12 as well as single counts of conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation and lewd molestation. Crain also was charged with 11 counts of possession of juvenile pornography.
At a preliminary hearing, nine students aged 9 to 11 testified that Crain took photos of them in her classroom in McLoud, 30 miles east of Oklahoma City, and during a pizza party at her home while they were wearing tank tops and underwear. Prosecutors said Crain then shared the images with Doby.
Among the witnesses was a 9-year-old old girl who said Crain told her to open her legs and dance as Crain took photos.
Another former student testified that she and other students went to Crain's home in November 2011 for a pizza party where they changed into Christmas-themed panties and bras, then hid behind a couch when the pizza deliveryman arrived so he could not see them. Several students said Crain told them not to tell their parents what they had done.
Among the evidence introduced in the case were copies of photographs Crain allegedly took of as many as 14 girls, including images that Smothermon said were captured using a hidden video camera that showed the girls naked as they changed clothes.
The prosecutor said the pleas will prevent the children from having to testify again at a trial.
"The parents are very happy that their children don't have to go through a long trial," he said. Several parents attended the hearing for Crain and Doby but left the courtroom without comment.
Smothermon said he plans to present evidence at Crain's sentencing hearing that she had been taking inappropriate photos of her students and sharing them with Doby for up to two years before they were arrested.
"Once it got to him, there's no telling where they went," the prosecutor said, adding there could potentially be more victims.
Crain resigned in November 2011 after the allegations were revealed. Doby, who retired in 2008 as professor of early childhood development at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, was arrested in December 2011 at his home in Pennsylvania and extradited to Oklahoma to face the charges.
Prosecutors say the two met during the 1980s when Crain was a student and Doby a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.