Former Country Day School teacher sentenced to 20 years in prison

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A former teacher at Country Day School has been sentenced for his conviction on two counts of sodomy.

Madison County Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall sentenced Naff to 20 years on each count to run concurrently.  Naff must also pay $5,000 in addition to restitution to victims.  He must also register as a sex offender.  Naff will serve 20 years because the sentence does not allow for parole.

A large crowd attended the sentencing — so many people that court personnel had to bring in extra chairs to accommodate the crowd.  Some came in support of Naff and others came in support of the victim in the case.  Several people also stood along the walls.

Prior to Friday’s sentencing, defense attorney Bruce Gardner had filed a motion to apply law in place at the time of the acts, a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years instead of 20.  Prosecutors didn’t argue with the motion.

A law was enacted after the acts occurred which raises the mandatory minimum sentence to 20 years for a guilty verdict of sodomy of a child under the age of 12.

In her sentence, Judge Hall decided to take the 2 minimum sentences for each count, 10 years, and stack them on top of each other.

Support for Naff

During Friday’s proceeding, a parent whose daughter had Naff as a teacher and soccer coach spoke in court on Naff’s behalf. He said Naff was an immense help to his daughter who had been diagnosed with severe depression and ADHD.

A former student and soccer player also testified, telling the judge he considered Naff a best friend and “owed him everything.”

Naff approached the center of the courtroom to tell the judge, “I respect you and this court and I just want to look you in the eye and tell you I’m innocent.”

Prosecutor’s response

Prosecutors said Naff stole a child’s innocence.  The family of the victim trusted Naff with their 11-year-old girl, Assistant District Attorney Tim Gann said.

“He is now a child molester; he always was and now it’s a fact,” said Gann.

The victim, a former student, accused him of sexually abusing her between 2004 and 2006.   She reported it to police in 2012 and is now an adult, and testified during the trial, which took place in June.  A jury found Naff guilty of two counts of sodomy.

Naff was a middle school teacher at Country Day School.  His mother, Sherri Naff, owns the school.

Defense attorney Gardner says he will appeal the sentence.

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