She pleaded guilty to four counts of sex with a 16-year-old boy under her care or supervision and was sentenced to 300 hours of community service.
A level of criticism from the community is a natural consequence of such criminal charges, but it had reached a “fairly extreme level” in the case of this woman, the judge found.
In fact, she had become an outcast in her community: threatened and ridiculed on the street, refused to serve in supermarkets, fired from two jobs due to threats of a boycott by people against businesses, and suspended from her job. Volunteer role with the local fire department.
That was described by the organization as a loss to both her and them.
The judge said the teacher and the boy hooked up after the death of one of their friends, and her partner ended their relationship due to mental health and fertility issues.
“I do not believe that this offense was in any way, shape or form predatory,” the judge said.
“The situation arose out of a totally inappropriate relationship that escalated.”
He previously said the charge related more to breach of trust than sexual intercourse.
Judges were conditioned to treat it as if the whistleblower was a minor, but the boy was almost 17 years old, he added.
“At some point, someone is going to have to sit down and really figure out what this charge means,” he said.
“I won’t say more, or maybe it gets me in trouble.”
The court was told that the teacher and the student struck up a supportive friendship and spoke on Instagram and through text messages.
The pair met late one night after the boy ran away from home and kissed in a car, following an argument about the inappropriate nature of a teacher-student relationship.
They met again later and had sex.
The school was notified anonymously and the teacher was fired.
The police contacted the boy, but told them nothing had happened, before asking the teacher to delete the messages between them.
She admitted to others that they had been together, and although she did not admit it in a formal interview, she later admitted to the relationship.
The boy later told police: “You guys probably see it as her trying to get me.”
He told them that she was a good person and “I never wanted it to end like this and I never wanted her to have to deal with it,” the judge read in his statement.
“She didn’t mean it the way you normally do when a teacher tries to trap a student.”
The woman was also ordered to undergo mental health treatment and a sex offender rehabilitation program.