David Broxterman grabbed the side of the jury box for support as Judge Yancey sentenced him for lying about his doctoral degree in order to teach at Polk State College.
He was sentenced March 16 to five years in prison, followed by 20 years of probation.
Broxterman, 57, of Lakeland, faked a PhD in organizational management from the University of South Florida when he applied for a job as a professor at Polk State in 2008. He was selected for the position and was paid $258,760 for classes he taught from 2009 to 2014.
Assistant State Attorney Michael Hrdlicka asked Yancey not to depart from the sentencing guidelines, which were a minimum of 21 months.
“He needs to go to prison with a long period of probation following so he can begin to make amends for the lie he told to Polk State College,” Hrdlicka said.
Yancey granted that request by nearly tripling the guideline.
While witnesses testified to Broxterman’s credibility, praising his compassion and dedication to his students, Yancey said that over the course of the trial, he’d seen an alternate side of Broxterman.
“A lot of very fine people spoke on your behalf, but none of them sat through the trial and heard what I heard,” Yancey said. “While they have one perspective of things, I – perhaps – have another … It’s almost like we’re dealing with, in some ways, two different people.”
When Hrdlicka questioned Broxterman, he maintained that he did nothing wrong.
Before the sentence was imposed, Broxterman was asked by his attorney if there were any final words he’d like to say to the judge: “I’m just so sorry that it happened,” Broxterman said from the witness stand. “I wish I could take it back.”