David Van Houten sentenced to 26 years behind bars

by Michael Stafford

NewsWest 9

A former teacher for Midland Academy Charter will be heading to prison for a long time.

On Wednesday, a Midland judge handed down the most severe punishment possible for David Van Houten.

The judge sentenced the former eighth grade social studies teacher to 26 years behind bars for sexually assaulting one of his 14 year old female students.

Officials say he'll be eligible for parole in 13 years.

Just after the sentencing, we caught up with the victim's parents and the Assistant District Attorney.

Both are pleased with the outcome.

Maggie Coronado, the mother, tells Newswest Nine quote, "We still feel the heaviness of the situation, but it turned out as good as we can expect."

How's your daughter?  "She's definitely glad.  She wasn't too sure.  She was very worried for a long time, but she's glad this is behind her.  But it's still with her everyday."

Assistant District Attorney Laura  Nodolf said, "The decision of the judge really sends a message that if you're a would-be pedophile and you want to commit a crime against a child in Midland County, Texas, you're going to face some of the stiffest penalties."     

Attorneys for Van Houten say they'll appeal the case within thirty days.

The former teacher must also register as a sex offender if he loses his appeal.