BOISE -- A Kuna, Idaho mom will spend at least three years in prison for having sex with teenage boys last fall. A judge sentenced Courtney Sue Reschke to 20 years total, but with parole eligibility after the first three.
The sentencing was four hours long, in part because of expert testimony and attorney argument about whether a female sex offender should be given different consideration than a male offender.
"She has committed crimes against many, many children and has affected their lives," Jean Fisher, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor, told the court.
Fisher told the court Reschke hosted wild nights at her house, luring teenage boys, acquaintances of her kids, to her home through text messages and Facebook, giving them alcohol and then committing sexual acts with at least eight of them, some in front of her own kids.
She pleaded guilty to six counts of lewd conduct with a minor and seven counts of giving them alcohol. In court, her attorney read her written apology.
"It says: I would like to apologize to everyone involved. The victims, their families, my family, my kids. I acted stupidly and recklessly, and I've let everyone down," Reschke's attorney read from her statement. "I was supposed to be the responsible parent who kept an eye on these teenagers, and instead I let my own life deteriorate to the point where I am today."
Defense Attorney John Loschi presented examples of Reschke's life unraveling, from divorce to a bankruptcy to a DUI charge. He portrayed the sex acts as one month of off-the-rails behavior.
But Deputy Prosecutor Fisher wanted Reschke in prison for at least 10 years before parole, with her expert forensic psychologist giving the opinion Reschke is a predator with deviant behavior.
"I think we need to look at her with the same sort of parity that we would if was a male," Fisher said. "We cannot minimize the criminal behavior of this defendant because she's female -- because I think that there is a lot of societal pressure about that."
Loschi asked the judge to put Reschke into a programming option that could get her out of prison in as little as six months and keep her from general population. He said psychologists acknowledge a difference in how female offenders can be treated.
"What everybody knows that's been doing this for a while, and both experts testified to is there is a difference between women sex offenders and male sex offenders," Loschi said.
After four hours of expert opinion and the attorneys arguments, the judge spoke to Reschke.
"I know that you know that you did wrong," Judge Ronald Wilper told Reschke. :You know that you're going to be punished. I think you know that I'm going to give you a stretch in the penitentiary for what you did, because I think a lesser sentence really would depreciate the seriousness of the crime."
Wilper said he wouldn't send her to prison for as long as Fisher asked. Instead, he chose a 20-year sentence, with three required before parole. He said that would allow her to enter treatment faster.
"I think that the state believes there should be some measure of equality or parity when a judge sentences a male sex offender who violates little girls versus a female sex offender who violates young boys. There is a difference. I have a difficult time articulating precisely what that difference is. It's difficult to try to explain what that difference is, but nevertheless I think we know there's a difference," Wilper said.
The victims' families and prosecutor were disappointed.
"The problem we have with prosecuting female sex offenders is there's still this enormous societal opinion that somehow it's less a victimization for boys than it is for girls," Fisher said. "I think that's just wrong and I think those are old social thoughts that really need to be eradicated. And unfortunately I think we're still seeing that today, and we saw it in the sentencing today."
Loschi and the victims' families declined comment after the sentencing.