It was perhaps the most salacious part of one of the most scandalous student-teacher affair stories in history: a video, taken by a cellphone camera, of then-Texas high school teacher Brittni Colleps having group sex with four 18- and 19-year-old students at her suburban home.
But Colleps, who is 28 and the mother of three young children, says that video – taken by one of the students – makes her a victim.
“I felt like I was victimized in that video, because I did not, I never gave my consent for it,” Colleps told “20/20″ correspondent Deborah Roberts in an exclusive jailhouse interview airing tonight on “20/20.” Roberts also spoke exclusively to Colleps’ husband, Christopher, who explained why he is standing by his wife.
In August, a jury convicted Colleps on 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Though the students with whom she had sex – there were five – were all older than the minimum age of consent in Texas, state law prohibits any educator in a primary or secondary school from having sex with any enrolled student, no matter their age.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Beach prosecuted Colleps’ case and defended the law in an interview with “20/20.”
“Who has more power in the classroom?” she asked. “Does the teacher have more power or does the students have more power? The teacher has more power. And so the teacher can use that power to sexually exploit students in the classroom, even if those students are 18 years old.”
The story of how Colleps went from popular teacher to convicted felon begins with a seemingly innocent text message — one sent by Colleps to a school athlete asking what time a baseball game was starting.
But in the weeks that followed, as court documents would show, Colleps exchanged 300 pages worth of text messages with the student, most of which were sexual in nature.
“Sitting in the classroom, she goes into these very specific sexual text messages about the things she wants him to do to her body,” Beach said. The texts included messages like “I’m an anything goes in sex kinda girl” and “I like pullin’ hair, bitin’, scratchin’, spanking, I even like being choked.”
In April 2011, Colleps invited the athlete to her home to watch a movie. They ended up having sex, and the student reportedly returned to her home at least four more times.
The following May, he brought three friends – all football players – to Colleps’ home for dinner. But prosecutors say the students got more than just a home-cooked meal. Colleps reportedly put on lingerie, brought out sex toys and led the four young men to her bedroom.
“And she’s performing one sex act on one student, and she is simultaneously performing another sex act on another student, and she has farmed out her kids for the night so that she can have four students in, and engage in what is more or less an orgy,” Beach said.
That was when one of the students captured the trysts on a cellphone camera, and he didn’t keep it to himself. It soon became fodder for hallway gossip that spread to administrators at Colleps’ school. Colleps was called to the principal’s office and, five days later, arrested.
Last month, before the jury convicted her, it heard explicit and damning testimony. “She said that she craved…that I had something she wanted,” one of Colleps’ teenage sex partners testified.
But some of the students also said in court that they didn’t feel like victims and that they were happy to be at Colleps’ home the night of the encounter. One, according to Colleps’ lawyer, said he wanted to testify on his teacher’s behalf.
“They didn’t feel like I victimized them. They didn’t feel like victims, you know, last year, they don’t feel like victims now. And they didn’t want anything to happen to me either,” Colleps said.
But something did happen – after her conviction, Colleps was sentenced to five years in jail. The sentence came despite pleas for leniency from Colleps’ husband. Christopher Colleps, 31, was serving as an army specialist in Louisiana when he learned of his wife’s deceit.
He called the news of her betrayal the “toughest thing I’ve ever had to hear,” but said he nonetheless stands by his wife. She doesn’t, he said, deserve jail time. “When our children get old enough, she has to look them in the eye and tell them what she did. That is punishment,” he said.