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Legacy Christian teacher sentenced on charges of sexually assaulting student
A judge has sentenced a former Legacy Christian Academy teacher to 16 years in prison on charges of sexually assaulting a young student for at least four years.
KFDM's Ashley Gaston was in the courtroom for the sentencing of 53 year old Linda Leann Wallace.
You can't see the young victim going into Judge John Stevens' courtroom. Close friends surround the college student as she prepares to give a statement.
I told her she was a very courageous young lady because it's very easy to sweep things under the rug or not face them, said Mary Milligan.
Mary Milligan was one of the many people who filled the courtroom.
She's known the victim at least 15 years. And she's known Linda Leann Wallace for decades.
Justice will come and wrong doing will not continue, said Milligan.
Wallace was a counselor and music teacher at Legacy Christian Academy in Beaumont.
She began sexually abusing the student when the girl was 12.
It continued for at least four years.
Leeann Wallace did violate trust, said Pat Knauth. Knauth is the Prosecutor.
Wallace was supposed to be mentoring the student.
The abuse happened at school, during school outings, in vehicles, and at Wallace's home.
Oh, I hurt for her. I can't imagine. I hurt for her, said Hope Reichenau.
Hope Reichenau attended Legacy.
I am so sorry this happened to her, she is a precious little girl, said Reichenau.
Reichenau said Wallace apologized to her for making the young student a victim.
Ms. Wallace was just a mentor to all of us. Never once did I feel threatened.
They seem to want to focus on the good things. It's tainted by evil and deception, acts of betrayal, said Knauth.
Wallace's daughters and husband walked out of the courtroom in tears.
The student who trusted Wallace also left in tears surrounded and comforted by friends every step of the way.
During the sentencing hearing Wallace took the witness stand.
She said, "There's no excuse for my behavior. I know her high school years are tainted. I ruined it."
Wallace also testified: "Im the kind of person, who gives a Christian a bad name, Im sorry."
The girl who is now in college spoke during a victim's impact statement.
The girl said she didnt want to come forward because she was scared for herself and her family. The victim said she didn't want to expose Wallaces family because she loved them.
The girl also said to Wallace, "I forgive you. But there must be consequences. My desire to walk in the light is why I was honest. I'm praying for you every day."
Wallace must serve at least eight years before she is eligible for parole.