A former Jacksonville high school teacher pleaded guilty to sexually abusing one of his former students and two counts of unlawful sex with a minor in Duval County. But instead of getting the 15 years in prison he was facing, Leonard Adams Hoffman, was sentenced last week to one year in the Duval County jail, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Hoffman, 32, will also serve eight years of sexual offender probation in Jacksonville, the newspaper reported. Hoffman has been in jail since March, when he was arrested in Sarasota County on a sex crimes warrant from Jacksonville, so he is scheduled to be released in early 2013. State prosecutors said they agreed to the deal so the 16-year-old victim would not have to testify at a trial, according to the newspaper report. The investigation into Hoffman began after the Duval County Public Schools suspended him in 2011 for throwing a pencil at a student and telling the class they were going to be discussing vaginas. Hoffman, who started teaching in Jacksonville in 2007, resigned after the administration recommended he be fired.
The police got involved and found he had sexually abused a student, the newspaper reported. It is not known why the three Duval County sex charges were separated, but it is likely because the student was a student of Hoffman’s for one of the incidents, but not the other two. Very few details of the case have been released, as is the case in most Jacksonville sexual assault cases involving a minor. But avoiding any prison time at all for a teacher having sex with a student has to be considered a victory for the Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney. Hoffman will be on sexual offender probation into his 40s and it is very unlikely he’ll be back in a classroom at any time. Florida sexual offender probation prohibits any unsupervised contact will a person under the age of 18, if the crime involved a minor as Hoffman’s clearly did. Other requirements of sexual offender probation include being at home between 10 p.m. and 6 p.m., undergoing sex offender counseling, not working anywhere where children congregate and submitting to blood and DNA testing when asked. Some of the penalties never go away. Hoffman will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life and will always have to contact police when he moves to another residence and his status will be announced to all of his neighbors.
Understandably, many people charged with sex crimes are reluctant to plead guilty to anything because sex crimes are not crimes where you do your time and you’re done. But that, coupled with the state often wanting to shield an alleged victim from a trial, can lead to complex negotiations.
Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, has represented hundreds of clients charged with sex crimes in Northeast Florida and is experienced in balancing the desire to limit potential damages as well as the defendant’s right to a trial. If you or a loved one needs a sex crimes attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville sex crimes attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.