A former middle school counselor convicted in a sex case involving a student was sentenced to over 13 years in jail.
Judge Patrick Thompson sentenced 33-year-old Brooke Dinkel Thursday afternoon in Saline County District Court to 165 months in prison.
Back in June Dinkel was found guilty of sex crimes involving a 13-year-old student. A jury found the 33-year-old former Smoky Valley Middle School Counselor guilty of two counts of rape. She was acquitted of other charges that included 8 other counts of rape and 10 counts of aggravated criminal sodomy.
The case stemmed from sexual encounters at Dinkel’s home with a student. She was a school counselor at the time, and the student was 13-years-old.
During the trial Dinkel contended that the boy forced himself on her the first time. It happened when he was at her house helping her with a wallpaper project. She said after that she continued to have sexual encounters with the student because he was threatening to get her in trouble.
The sentencing hearing began at 1:30 Thursday afternoon, and lasted until after 5:00. A psychologist from Kansas City spoke, a couple of Brooke Dinkel’s family members including her father spoke, and Dinkel herself spoke.
Prosecutor Christina Trochek urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence under “Jessica’s Law”. She said that as a school counselor Dinkel was supposed to help children. Instead, she took advantage of a vulnerable child. The victim is a relative of a close family friend. Dinkel knew about his home-life, and other issues he had. Even knowing of his vulnerabilities she began, and continued, a sexual relationship with him.
Defense Attorney Roger Struble urged the judge to depart from the recommended sentence under “Jessica’s Law”, which would have been life without the possibility of parole for 25 years. He said that Dinkel is not a sexual predator, and is not a danger to society. Struble said that based on the evidence, she needs mental health treatment, not prison.
As Dinkel spoke, she had to stop several times to regain her composure. She said that she only wanted to help others, each and every student. She said that she tried to help the victim as best she could. “He raped me. I don’t know what happened after that. I cant explain my actions.” She said “I am not a sexual predator. I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old daughter that right now do not have a mother.” She told the judge “I am begging you to let me return to my family. My little girls. To let them have their mother back.”
Judge Thompson did depart from the “Jessica’s Law” life sentence, but not any further. He told Dinkel that she damaged her own family, the victim, and his family. He told her “you were in a position of trust and authority”. The judge said that schools are are supposed to be safe and nurturing places. “You are not the victim here” he concluded.
The judge sentenced Dinkel to 165 months in prison. He also ordered her to be on lifetime supervision once released released, and he ordered her to pay just over $2,200 in restitution.
An appeal bond hearing was scheduled for Friday morning.