Ex-Checotah teacher waives right to preliminary hearing in rape case
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
7/04/12 at 4:08 AM
EUFAULA - A former Checotah elementary school teacher who faces a 22-count indictment stemming from the alleged rape of two teenage boys waived her rights to a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Michelle Diane McCutchan, 40, made the decision before Judge Thomas Bartheld in McIntosh County District Court with her attorneys Steve Barnes and Warren Gotcher.
Assistant District Attorney Crieg Rittenhouse said after the hearing that their recommended punishment would have been much harsher had McCutchan persisted with the preliminary hearing, at which at least four juveniles as well as a female relative could have been called to testify.
"We're trying to save the victims from going through the trauma of having to relive this," Rittenhouse said. "If we can resolve this case without those victims having to testify and still have a sentence where she goes to prison, that's what we want to do."
Barnes said he is still in talks with his client and had no further comment. McCutchan is set to be arraigned Aug. 1.
She was charged in May 2011 with multiple counts of rape, sodomy, child neglect, furnishing alcohol to minors and possession of pornography.
She has pleaded not guilty to all counts and is free on $100,000 bond.
The victims were 16 at the time, which is old enough to consent to engaging in sex, but prosecutors pressed the charge because the youths attended school in the district where McCutchan taught.
The pornography charge deals with a video in McCutchan's possession that depicts a teenage boy and girl having sex and contains lewd pictures of a minor girl.
McCutchan was charged with child neglect for allegedly involving a female relative in sex acts with a teenage boy.
She had taught school for 18 years.
Original Print Headline: Ex-teacher waives rape-case hearing
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
Michelle Diane McCutchan: The former Checotah elementary school teacher was charged in May 2011 with multiple counts of rape, sodomy, child neglect, furnishing alcohol to minors and possession of pornography. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts and is free on $100,000 bond