In the end, Stephanie Edwards was sentenced to probation, just as she had hoped
in August before Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock threw out a deal that would have given Edwards probation for her alleged sexual contact with two minor boys.
Edwards, 35, of Mayer, who had been accused of sexual exploitation of minors, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual abuse with a minor under 15 years old and one count of child abuse. Hancock initially accepted the plea.
Edwards' attorney, Matthew Cochran, said she had participated in a "dogpiling" activity with several children, which led to the child abuse charge. Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore said that, during that activity, she rubbed her genital area on the boys through their clothes.
Cochran also said she touched the genitals of two young boys on another occasion.
The day Edwards was to be sentenced, Hancock said she "had the opportunity to better research the case" and said, "I must reject this plea agreement. It is too lenient."
With that in mind, Hancock said, Edwards could opt to have Hancock sentence outside the bounds of the plea agreement. She was originally going to hand down some jail time and probation, but without the limitations, Hancock could have sentenced her to three years in prison on each count.
Cochran turned that offer down and asked for a new judge, and Hancock assigned the case to Judge Tina Ainley's court.
Wednesday afternoon, Ainley sentenced Edwards to 15 years' supervised probation with sex offender terms and 365 days in jail, with credit for 274 already served.
"I don't think your behavior was pedophile-type behavior,"
Ainley told her. "That doesn't excuse it.
"Miss Edwards, I went with a longer jail time and a shorter probation time," Ainley said, "I hope you prove me right on that."