Former Brophy teacher gets 1 year in prison, 7 years of probation

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 11:47 AM

PHOENIX -- Per a plea agreement, Judge Bruce Cohen sentenced a former teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual assault to prison time and supervised probation Monday.

Dan Whitehead, who was arrested and charged in September 2012, was supposed to be sentenced Friday, but so many victims and supporters wanted to speak that the court ran out of time.

Cohen handed down the sentence late Monday morning. Per a plea agreement, he sentenced Whitehead to one year in prison and seven years of supervised probation.

Whitehead was a math teacher at Brophy Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. He started there in the '60s. The school fired him in 2011 after two former students came forward with allegations that Whitehead molested them in the 1980s. Other victims have since come forward.

Although the first two students to accuse Whitehead did not want to involve the authorities, Phoenix police investigated anyway and found that Whitehead allegedly invited students home, gave them alcohol and then tried to fondle them.

Whitehead, now 73, originally pleaded not guilty to 10 felony and misdemeanor charges. He changed his plea in August.

In addition to pleading guilty to one count of sexual abuse, Whitehead also pleaded no contest to one count of sexual abuse and one count of furnishing obscene/harmful items to minors. With the plea of no contest, Whitehead did not accept or deny responsibility for the charges, but he did agree to accept punishment.

At Friday's hearing, several people wanted to weigh in on Whitehead and what his future should be.

"He ripped away from me the very basics of the ability to love," Patrick O'Dowd, one of Whitehead's victims, told the court. "He gave me an incredible amount of shame. He gave me an incredible amount of self-hate. I hated myself after that because I thought I had done something wrong."

There were also those who support the former teacher.

"All I can say is that the man who has been presented here is not the man we have known all our lives," said Audry Firth, who has known Whitehead for 45 years.

In addition to the prison time and supervised probation, Whitehead will have to register as a sex offender.

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