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A Salt Lake County woman accused of having sex with two of her teenage foster sons was sentenced Monday to three years' probation, during which time she was ordered to stay away from children including her own.
In a plea deal with prosecutors that spared her what could have been a life sentence, Delshawn Renee Little, 32, pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Judge Denise Lindberg chided Little as she handed down the woman's sentence Monday morning.
"You abused a position of trust," Lindberg said, "at least twice."
Prosecutors said the plea deal came about, in part, because the victims, two 17-year-old boys, did not want to testify in court. They expressed concerns for Little's children, who the victims feared would end up in foster care if their mother was sent to prison.
Lindberg said she took these fears into consideration in determining Little's sentence, but cautioned Little that probation should not be mistaken for lenience.
"This concession is being done out of recognition of the concerns expressed by the victims," Lindberg said. "But I'm not going to run the risk that she's going to turn around and victimize more children."
Lindberg imposed a zero-tolerance probation, which means should Little violate any terms of the agreement, she will be sent to prison.
Among those terms: Little was ordered not to have unsupervised contact with minors including her own two young children. She also must serve 150 hours of community service, refrain from using drugs or alcohol, submit to random testing and undergo a psychosexual evaluation and treatment.
According to charging documents, Little and another woman had sexual contact with the 17-year-old boys during Little's time as their foster mother.
Little was originally charged with four counts of rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, first-degree felonies. She was also charged with lewdness, a misdemeanor.
The other woman, Millana LeBrea Jennesse, 35, was charged with four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, a third-degree felony. Jennesse has pleaded not guilty to all charges, but court documents indicate she is likely to change her plea during a hearing April 29.
One of Little's foster sons told prosecutors he had sex with his foster mother on three occasions between June and September 2012 at their Kearns home. In July, Little also asked him to film her and her boyfriend having sex, charges state.
On a separate occasion, the teenager and his foster brother went into Little's bedroom, where they engaged in sexual activity with Little and Jennesse, according to the documents.
Little, who appeared Monday in a yellow jumpsuit with her hands cuffed behind her back, stuttered through an apology.
"I just want to say that I'm sorry," said Little, as she began to cry. "I'm sorry."
Little has been in custody for nearly 180 days. Her probation will begin Friday.