A former middle school teacher could spend up to 10 years in prison after having sex with an eighth grader.
Stephanie Peterson, 27, pleaded guilty to two felony charges Tuesday in connection to her having sex with a 14-year-old middle school boy at New Smyrna Beach Middle School in Volusia County, Florida, and sending him explicit photos, the Dayton Beach News-Journal reports.
The guilty pleas were part of a deal; prosecutors agreed to drop a second charge of lewd or lascivious battery sex act with a child, the term in Florida law that refers to statutory rape, which could have meant another 10 years behind bars as well as a $10,000 fine, the outlet reports.
The pair's relationship spanned from November to January of this year, during which Peterson made late night trips to his house, picking him up for sexual encounters at her home, in her car and in the barn behind the boy’s home, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said in February.
When the boy's mother discovered the relationship, Peterson wrote to him on Snapchat:
“Please tell her it was the worst decision of my life and I know it was and idk where my brain was but that I somehow fell in love with you briefly and idk why and I’ll never be the same person because of it,” according to the News-Journal.
However, when Peterson learned the boy's mother knew of their illicit tryst, she became agitated. She fired off more messages: "I hate you;" "Should I call her?!??!" and, “Delete everything.”
She was arrested on Feb. 28 by local police.
Bryan Shorstein, a spokesman for the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, told the News-Journal that Peterson would be registered as a sex offender.
She will be sentenced by Judge Raul Zambrano, though a sentencing date hasn't been set yet, the paper reports.
“The component of any sentence is treatment, and a component of treatment is admitting that you did what you did," Judge Zambrano said, as quoted by the News-Journal.
Peterson, who resigned her teaching position when allegations surfaced, said she had undergone therapy and understood the chargers. She was joined in court by her father, a local attorney.
[Photo Credit: Facebook]
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