Former West High School choir teacher Christopher More was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Thirteen of those years are suspended, meaning he'll serve 12 years.
Prior to his sentence, the 30-year-old convicted of having sexual relations with two of his students at West High School spoke to Judge Philip Volland in front of a standing-room-only courtroom.
"I ask you to please, please have mercy and leniency on my sentencing," More said, pausing several times during his message to wipe away tears.
"From the bottom of my heart, I'm so very sorry," More said.
He apologized to his choir students who he said looked up to him. He also apologized to his co-workers throughout the Anchorage school district, saying "my behavior was my own," and not reflective of ASD standards.
Through sobs, he asked forgivness from his wife: "I am so sorry for breaking your heart."
Most of the packed courtroom consisted of More's friends and family, four of whom also spoke to Judge Volland on More's behalf. Volland said he had recieved an "unusual" number of letters supporting More's character: 62 of them.
No one associated with any of the victims spoke at Friday's sentencing hearing.
In March, More pleaded guilty to the accusations against him, and in exchange, prosecutors asked Judge Volland to drop four of the six charges against him, leaving two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
But Judge Volland struggled to accept the plea deal initially -- something he says he's only questioned twice in his eight-year career as a judge.
He said in previous cases involving sexual abuse of a minor, he's been compelled to sentence people to 30-50 years in prison.
"I've got to be fair," Volland said.
He said that under the law, he's supposed to treat all sexual offenders similarly in sentencing for the same charge, even though not all sexual offenses are the same.
"I'm not given a lot of discretion," Volland said.
After allowing both the defense and prosecution to explain why they struck the plea deal, Volland accepted it, saying More shows "great potential for rehabilitation."
He also said by pleading guilty, More spared his victims the "tortuous" task of testifying at trial.
Prosecutors also noted More's "swift and immediate acceptance of responsibility."
More was also sentenced to 15 years probation, and he was required to turn over his Alaska teaching license for life.
Contact Jason Lamb at email@example.com