March 15, 2013 10:17:45 AM
Carmen K. Sisson - email@example.com
A former New Hope woman accused of having a sexual relationship with two 15-year-old boys was found guilty of two counts of sexual battery Thursday in Lowndes County Circuit Court, ending a two-year legal battle and more than five hours of jury deliberations.
Circuit Judge Lee Howard sentenced Christy McGough, 35, to concurrent 10-year sentences, with five years suspended and five years of post-release supervision. She was also fined $1,000 and court costs.
McGough was arrested May 5, 2011 after one of the victims' mothers brought his lunch to New Hope High School and discovered he and another boy, who was living with the McGough family at the time, had been signed out by McGough without parental consent.
When Lowndes County sheriff's deputies arrived at her home, then located at 1153 Lake Lowndes Road, they found both boys on the premises. The victims told investigators they had engaged multiple times in sexual acts with McGough, both separately and together. McGough corroborated their statements on the scene, signing a confession before being taken into custody.
The victims, now 17, both testified that they cared about McGough, with one calling her his "best friend," and talking of intimate moments after sex when they would lie together in bed and he would confide in her about school and other issues.
Though McGough showed little reaction to Thursday's verdict, her family appeared visibly shaken, and a female juror bowed her head and wiped away tears.
The victims' families expressed gratitude and relief, with one mother crying and pulling her son close as they exited the courtroom.
"It's over," she said. "You don't have to worry about it anymore, baby."
The second victim's parents and grandparents gathered in the hallway and hugged one another, praising the jury's decision.
"We're just glad we have one more (offender) off the streets," the boy's father said. "This can't happen to any more children."
His mother turned to leave, then stopped.
"Her family is also a victim," she said. "Her kids are also suffering."
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.