Caudle pleads guilty to sodomy chargesPublished 11:54am Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The Andalusia Middle School special education teacher charged in March with sexually abusing three students pled guilty to two counts this morning and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Amy Caudle pled guilty to two counts of sodomy in the second degree, both class B felonies, before District Judge Trippy McGuire. In the plea agreement, she was sentenced to 15 years for each count, to be served concurrently. She will serve three years, with credit for time already served in the county jail, and will have 12 years of supervised probation.
The agreement also requires Caudle to:
• Tender her resignation to Andalusia City Schools.
• Surrender her teaching certificate and license to teach.
• Be subject to the Community Notification Act upon her release, which requires her to register as a sex offender.
• Submit a DNA sample.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Grace Jeter told Judge McGuire that if the case went to trial, the state expected to prove that, between November of 2010, and February of
2011, that Caudle performed oral sex on two different victims. Each was in her vehicle at the time. One incident occurred on Bray Street, the other on Johnson Park.
Caudle stood before Judge McGuire, accompanied only by her attorney, Al Smith. She wore jeans, tennis shoes and an untucked flannel shirt. She was taken immediately into custody after being sentenced.
After the hearing, Jeter said that despite only pleading to two counts, Caudle is being punished.
“The number of counts she pled to is not reflective of the measure of guilt,” she said, adding this was not a “one victim, one time” case.
District Attorney Walt Merrell said the primary goal of the plea agreement was to spare victims, all juveniles, from having to testify before a grand jury or in open court.
“We wanted to get Ms. Caudle off the street,” he said. “We’re satisfied, and the victims are satisfied.”
“I would be remiss if I didn’t commend the Andalusia Police Department on being diligently committed to the case until the end,” Merrell said.
Merrell and Jeter said the accusations against Caudle first came to light when Caudle had a “slip of the tongue” with a former school system employee. That employee notified Superintendent Ted Watson about her suspicions. Watson contacted the DA’s office, and immediately, the APD and DHR were called to investigate. Caudle was charged within a matter of days.
The victims were not Caudle’s special ed students, Jeter said.
“The most horrible part of what she’s done is that we can’t tell how it will affect these kids in the future,” she said. “It will possibly be with them forever.”