A former Norman North High School girls basketball coach was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for having a sexual relationship with a student.

District Judge William Hetherington sentenced Vicky Lynn Lewallen to two years in the Department of Corrections with eight years suspended Wednesday afternoon. Lewallen, 45, entered a blind plea to two oral sodomy charges.

Lewallen will serve prison time for the relationship she had with a 16-year-old female high school student two years ago.

Hetherington asked Lewallen if she understood that she is giving up her right to a jury trial or trial by judge. Lewallen indicated she understood.

The judge called court into session shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. Four witnesses testified at the sentencing hearing.

Norman Police Department Detective Jose Chavez, Craig Meget, a probation and parole officer, Lewallen's therapist, Dr. Richard Kishur and the former student all took the witness stand Wednesday.

The former student testified the sexual relationship was consensual. The student was 16 at the time of the relationship. She has since turned 18 and graduated from high school.

The former student said she graduated from Robinson Street Academy and works at a local retail store.

Lewallen's attorney Steve Stice was the first person to question the former student under oath.

"You're here voluntarily?" Stice asked the woman.

"Yes, I am," she said.

She testified the physical relationship happened inside Lewallen's classroom at Norman North High School and at Lewallen's home during the school lunch hour.

"Is it fair to say, you both knew it was wrong?" Stice asked.

"Yes, we did," the former student said.

She testified that she was the aggressor and pursued Lewallen.

"Was everything done on your own free will? Stice asked.

"Yes, it was," she said.

"How long did the physical relationship last?" Stice asked.

"About two or three months," the former student said.

She testified she considers herself a lesbian and has made attempts to contact Lewallen. But she said Lewallen hasn't contacted her.

"I do care about her as a friend, nothing more, we had our thing and that's what it is," the former student said.

Under cross examination, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Austin reminded the former student that she still was interested in a romantic relationship with Lewallen at the January 2008 preliminary hearing.

"When's the last time you tried to contact her (Lewallen)?" Austin asked.

"Two or three weeks ago," the former student replied.

The former student said she considers Lewallen a friend.

"I'm not ashamed of what happened," she said.

The former student testified that she's had friendly relationships with her teachers and another alleged improper relationship with a former teacher in another school district.

"You understand another teacher will have to be investigated?" Austin asked the woman.

The former student said she understood.

The judge recessed court about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday to allow time to consider Lewallen's punishment. At 4:07 p.m., Hetherington was ready to give his decision.

"This case presents particular and unique dynamics for me as a judge," Hetherington said. "I am faced with the responsibility of determining an appropriate punishment package in a two count forcible sodomy case. That alone presents nothing unique or unusual, in and of itself, when compared to any other sodomy blind plea and sentencing that I have determined over the years."

Hetherington said Lewallen described her relationship with a 16-year-old girl as loving, mutual, consensual and according to the pre-sentence investigation report, she recognized the wrongfulness of her behavior.

"Because of the uniqueness of this case, it has been important for me not to let the face of this being a gay relationship in any way prejudice this defendant or conversely serve to benefit her based upon what some would call a political correctness or public opinion considerations," he said.

Hetherington said Lewallen must serve 85 percent of the jail term. She also must register as a sex offender and complete a minimum of a three-year sex offender treatment program.

Immediately following Hetherington's words, Lewallen was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom by Cleveland County Sheriff's deputies.

Lewallen taught and coached girls basketball at Norman High School from 1996-97, guiding the Lady Tigers to the Class 6A state championship. She then transferred to North. She taught there and coached basketball from 1997 to 2004. She remained a teacher there after coaching basketball.

She taught science at NNHS before she was suspended May 4, 2007. She resigned June 15, 2007.

Austin asked Hetherington to sentence Lewallen to three years prison time and seven years suspended.

After Hetherington adjourned court, Austin said she was happy with the judge's decision.

"I am satisfied obviously," she said.

Austin said Lewallen's crime required incarceration. Lewallen took advantage of her position as an educator and of the student. School should be a safe place for children.

She said Lewallen will be transported to DOC in the next 10 days.

"Probation will be a time to get rehabilitated if she can be," Austin said.

Stice wanted Hetherington to give Lewallen a suspended sentence and let her continue her counseling program.

"I'm disappointed," Stice said after the punishment was read. "I understand his ruling."

He said he respected Hetherington but disagreed with his decision.

"We don't believe prison is a proportion punishment," Stice said.

He said Lewallen has the right to withdraw her plea.

"I personally don't see any legal reason to withdraw her plea," Stice said.

He said he expects Lewallen to serve 85 percent of the two-year prison sentence.

"She will serve her time and get out," Stice said.

Meghan McCormick 366-3539 mmccormick@normantranscript.com

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