GRAND RAPIDS, Mich, (WOOD) - A former Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher was sentenced Tuesday to eight to 15 years in prison for having sex with University Prep Academy students.
Jamila Williams pleaded no contest on Sept. 19 to three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of the deal, three other counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct were dropped.
Williams -- who was arrested in June -- admitted to having sex with two of her students, ages 15 and 16, multiple times between March and June, police say.
During her sentencing Tuesday in 17th Circuit Court, Williams said she was not a predator and did not prey on the victims. She said she's sorry -- and not just because she was caught.
"I'm actually sorry for the pain and hurt that I've caused the many people who are affected by my actions," Williams said.
The victims' families said they were outraged by Williams' actions, saying they were "deceived" and their sons were "manipulated." But they did say they hope her family can come together in this difficult time.
Judge Paul Sullivan told Williams her future could have been much different.
“You had such promise to do things,” Sullivan said.
Following Williams' sentencing, well-known celebrity attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference outside the courtroom. Allred said she has been supporting Williams' victims during the court case. Allred has been successful in the past in obtaining settlements from school districts in similar sexual misconduct cases.
Reading verbatim from a three-page statement at the courthouse Tuesday, Allred said University Prep Academy needs to answer some tough questions.
"The school definitely has an opportunity to open up a conversation with us, a dialogue, and provide us with the answers to our questions. Because that is what these mothers and children deserve and that is what they need."
But, she said, "there's no lawsuit on file at this time."
Allred identified local attorney Genie Eardley as her co-council. She did use the words "civil suit," but it's not yet known if or when one will be filed.
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Mirror parts found at the scene indicate it may be a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander.