Assault Victim Curses at Former Teacher Convicted of Sexual Battery As He's Sentenced to Prison

A 23-year-old woman confronted her former teacher as he was sentenced to prison for sexual battery, according to the Associated Press.

Tom Privett, now 72, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual battery of a helpless victim, a former student from the Terra Environmental Research Institute magnet school in Miami-Dade County. Circuit Judge Ramiro Areces determined Privett to be a sexual offender, resulting in further sentencing of two years of house arrest and 20 years of probation while wearing an ankle monitor. The woman, who has not been identified, spoke during the sentencing hearing and described how he sexually took advantage of her when she was 14.

"You psychologically manipulated me and brainwashed me," she said, who also cursed at Privett and called him a monster. "You made me worship the ground you walked on. You insulted me when I failed to do the things you asked of me. You started touching me when I was 14 years old. I was the puppet and you were the strings controlling my every move."

He was also accused of assaulting a summer school student in the 1980s. In a letter to prosecutors, she said that Privett "was finally getting some of what [he] deserve[s]." Another potential victim was identified via a class photograph, but newspaper The Miami Herald reported that she did not want to cooperate with the investigation.

Privett publicly apologized to the former Terra student as part of his plea agreement.

"I apologize for my actions and for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with you while you were in high school. It was my responsibility as an adult to maintain our relationship of one that was appropriate between student and teacher. I failed," Privett said. "I hope the pain I have caused you can heal. I am sorry."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Gavel
Tom Privett of Miami-Dade County was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty on November 17 for sexually battering his then 14-year-old student. Above, a close-up of a judge's gavel. Photo by Getty Images

The woman clapped as Privett was handcuffed and led from a Miami-Dade courtroom to serve a two-year prison sentence for sexually battering her when she was a teen.

The victim couldn't contain her rage at Tom Privett, who sat stonefaced behind his mask Wednesday while she described him taking advantage of her at a time when she was dealing with a death in her family and other hardships.

Privett spent nearly three decades at South Dade High, teaching government, coaching the champion cross-country team and establishing the school's acclaimed Mock Trial Team for aspiring lawyers. He transferred to the Terra Environmental Research Institute magnet school and met the victim in 2012.

The sentencing came more than a year after Miami-Dade schools police arrested the retired teacher. Former students and faculty told the Herald that Privett's conduct with young female students had raised questions for years.

"As a woman and a mother, I was sickened and horrified when I learned of your latest victim," the other victim wrote in her letter, read by Miami-Dade prosecutor Natalie Snyder. "I felt immense guilt over not doing something to stop you over the last 30-something years."