Published Monday, November 05, 2012
By ALEX MCRAE
Dorothy Elizabeth Dixon, a former teacher with the Burwell Psychoeducational Center, was sentenced to 15 years probation Monday after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault against a student at Northgate High School.
Coweta Superior Court Judge Jack Kirby imposed the sentence in proceedings at the Coweta County Justice Center. Dixon will also be required to register as a sex offender and perform 200 hours of community service.
The state was represented by Assistant District Attorney Timothy M. Marlow.
Judge Kirby said it was clear from Dixon's pre-sentencing statement that she was remorseful but that her actions with a former student were "an egregious betrayal of trust."
Kirby also said that he felt that the only thing to be gained by sending Dixon to prison would be to serve as a deterrent to others. Kirby noted that neither the victim or his parents chose to appear in court and speak prior to sentencing although they were aware that such an opportunity was available.
Dixon was teaching at Northgate on behalf of Burwell when she was arrested. Burwell contracts to teach special needs adolescents. She was arrested in May 2011after investigators with the Coweta County Sheriff's Office learned about the alleged inappropriate sexual relationship from her husband, who was said to have discovered sexually explicit text messages on Dixon's phone.
Authorities said that when Dixon's husband confronted her with the messages, she admitted to having an affair with a 15-year-old boy who was also one of her students. Authorities believed the inappropriate relationship had been taking place off campus for approximately four months before Dixon's arrest.
In her pre-sentencing statement, Dixon grew very emotional as she described how shortly before sexual contact with the student began, her former husband had asked for a divorce, leaving her feeling bad and worthless and suffering from depression.
She said she had spent "most of the past 18 months" trying to put her life back together and move forward." She also said her children depended on her for care and support.