Portland teacher sentenced to 12 years in sex case

Portland teacher sentenced to 12 years in sex case (Image 1)

GALLATIN, Tenn. – The Sumner County teacher convicted of having sex with a student was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison, the maximum sentence she could have received.

Sandy Binkley was found guilty in September on two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure for having sex with the Portland High School student, where she taught math.

She faced a maximum six years for each count.

The judge ruled Friday she will serve the maximum for each, consecutively, for a total of 12 years.

The defense had sought the minimum three-year sentence.

Several witnesses were called by both the prosecution and defense prior to the sentencing including the principal at Portland High School, the mother of the victim and a parent concerned about Binkley’s relationship with her son.

Principal Bob Gideon called the situation “an embarrassment” that “continues to be a distraction every time you hear it in the news.”

“It’s been difficult for the faculty and staff because of the association,” he said.  “It [has] hurt a lot of people.”

The victim’s mother told the courtroom even her before the trial began, students at school were calling her son a rapist and because of that, she had to explain to her eight-year-old what sex is.

“…He found out at school because some of the boys were calling his brother a rapist, because they see the TV.  He’s defending his brother, the role model he looks up to, so I’ve had to sit him down and explain to him that you don’t sleep with teachers, that he was wrong… and that his brother was not a rapist,” she said.

Suzanne Groft recalled two occasions where she’s felt Binkley’s interactions with her son were inappropriate.

Last year, at registration night, she said Binkley hugged her son after admitting it was something she shouldn’t do and then, two weeks later, inappropriately approached them at a local Sonic restaurant.

“I thought it was very forward, the way she approached my son, and not very appropriate for a teenager,” Groft said.

Excerpts from a yearbook Binkley kept and had students sign was also read in the courtroom.

One read, “I think you are possibly the most awesome teacher I’ve ever had since the fourth grade.  I appreciate you letting me talk about you, and ‘smack your butt.’  I hope to see you some next year when I’m a big sophomore.  Stay cool and kinky.  It was nice getting to know every inch of you.  Tap that ass later.”

The judge said Binkley would be eligible for probation after serving 30%, or four years, of her sentence.

Binkley has been in custody since she was convicted on September 29.

She was cleared last month of the statutory rape charge she faced in Robertson County.

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