A former Connecticut English teacher who recently pleaded guilty to having illegal sexual relations with her former student was arrested this week for allegedly making threats to her former victim and violating her conditions of release pending her sentencing hearing. Danielle Watkins (32), is accused of telling the former student that he has “taken everything from me- my family, my kids, my job. I will not rest until you are both dead” according to the boy’s attorney. Watkins had pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor; the plea agreement called for a sentence that would require her to serve between nine months and four years along with statutory requirements of sexual offender registration, and other conditions of probation. Defendants are routinely required to remain law-abiding between the times of their guilty pleas and sentencing, and if they fail to do so, can be arrested. Watkins also faces the possibility of being charged with additional offenses related to the alleged threats.
Watkins was initially accused of having sexual relations with her student multiple times from approximately September of 2013 through June of 2014; the evidence also indicated that she exchanged over 2,000 text messages and 100 phone calls with the student, including nude pictures. The student was 17-years-old at the time, and Watkins had been a teacher there for about nine years. At the time, she was married with children. It is unclear what impact these circumstances might have on her pending sentencing.
The case is also noteworthy because school administrators had failed to timely report the allegations even though they were aware of them. Separate charges were levied against two administrators and were eventually resolved without formal convictions.
The plea deal Watkins agreed to in December called for between nine months and four years. Watkins broke her conditions of release and contact at a restaurant and told one of the accusers that “he would get his own.” This angered the judge, and he gave her five years. We believe the sentence was too harsh.