LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A jury recommended a 15-year sentence for Scott Quisenberry, the JCPS teacher convicted of raping one of his former students -- but it wasn't their first choice.

Earlier Tuesday, the same jury recommended a 60-year sentence, but that sentence exceeded the maximum penalty for Quisenberry.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle noted that under law, the maximum Quisenberry could be sentenced to is 20 years and instructed jurors to clarify the sentence they recommended for each charge.

Quisenberry was convicted on three counts of rape and four counts of sodomy on Monday. Prosecutors say he had a three-year sexual relationship with one of his former students, starting when she was 12 years old, when he was the girl's teacher at Bullitt Lick Middle School.

He later went to work at Kerrick Elementary School in Jefferson County, until he was arrested, and was placed on non-instructional duties and continued to earn his $65,000 salary, pending the outcome of the criminal case. Now that Quisenberry is a convicted felon, JCPS has begun the process of terminating his employment.

Eckerle will formally sentence Quisenberry at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. He is being held in Louisville Metro Corrections on a $75,000 cash bond.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Alicia Gomez told reporters Tuesday evening that even though the maximum sentence remains 20 years, the jury's recommendation often "serves as the ceiling."

"We are very pleased with the recommendation of the jury," said Gomez, who served as a lead prosecutor, adding that the victim's family was also pleased with the recommendation. "We certainly hope this will bring the family some closure."

During the sentencing hearing, Quisenberry's wife and son were called as witnesses. Both testified to his character, calling Quisenberry a kind man and asked the jury to give him the minimal sentence.

While on the stand, Quisenberry told the courtroom he was ready for whatever sentence the jury gave him, but he maintained his innocence. He asked the jury to be merciful on his sentencing.

"I'm a good man" he said.

Witnesses for the prosecution included the victim and her parents.

"It has been the worst nightmare anyone could go through watching your child crumble and not know why," said the victim's mother.

Her father described getting a call from a police officer informing him of what had happened to his daughter.

"As a father, it destroys you," he said. "Scott Quisenberry took much of my daughter's childhood from her...he destroyed much of our lives."

Ken McCardwell, Quisenberry's defense attorney, countered by pointing out that Quisenberry has no prior criminal history, and has won awards for his professional work. 

After the jury recommended they maximum sentence, Quisenberry's wife and son both shook their heads.

As Quisenberry was led back to jail, he told his wife he loved her as they blew kisses to each other. 

Neither Quisenberry's attorneys nor his family spoke to reporters as they left the courthouse Tuesday evening.


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