GREENSBORO — Family and friends were stoic Thursday as a federal judge sentenced a former Reidsville High booster to more than five years in prison after she pleaded guilty earlier to receiving child pornography from students at the school.
And so closed the emotional saga of Stacy Setliff, one that started in September 2014 when she was arrested on allegations that she offered oral sex to two male athletes at the school.
The incident sent shockwaves through Rockingham County and called into question the access boosters have with student athletes.
Setliff, of 1224 Richardson Drive in Reidsville, told the court Thursday that the ordeal, rather than shattering her family, brought them closer together.
For now, that closeness will have to be in spirit as Setliff spends the next five years in a federal prison, the location of which was unknown Thursday.
Rockingham County prosecutors dropped the local charges against Setliff in April after she pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greensboro to receiving child pornography.
According to court records, the two students — both 16 — told police that Setliff offered them oral sex on separate occasions.
The incidents occurred off campus between February and August 2014.
On Thursday afternoon, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand Ramaswamy told Judge N. Carlton Tilley that Setliff had sexual relations with the students before at least one of them sent her five pornographic photos.
“I want to apologize to you, your honor,” Setliff said. “I made a grave mistake.”
She continued apologizing to family and friends in the courtroom.
“It’s been horrible on my family, but I think it has brought us closer together,” Setliff said.
She faced up to 20 years in federal prison but received five years and three months — just over the minimum allowed under the law.
Tilley explained that the reason he limited Setliff’s sentence was due to the support she had from family, friends and especially her pastor, who wrote a letter on her behalf that the judge called one of “the best” he has ever received.
“I think it’s remarkable you’re still a family unit,” Tilley said. “It speaks remarkably about every member of your family. I’m so impressed.”
Setliff cried once when her attorney, Christian Dysart of Raleigh, asked Tilley not to give her a lot of jail time. Dysart told the court that Setliff battled depression and low self-esteem, which led her to having the sexual encounters.
Since being charged, Setliff started attending a new church and going to counseling sessions. In the process, Dysart told the court, Setliff has built a better relationship with her parents, children and husband.
It was enough to convince Tilley.
“I can’t imagine many other cases that I would give less than at least the middle of the (sentencing) guideline or even higher than the guideline,” he said.
In addition to spending five years in prison, Setliff has to register as a sex offender, get treatment, stay away from children that aren’t her own and submit to 10 years of supervised probation.
After 45 minutes, the hearing was over, and Setliff was off to begin the next chapter of her life — prison.
Before a U.S. marshal led her away, Setliff blew a kiss to her family and told them that she loved them.