A former teaching assistant in Illinois has admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old student while she was employed at the school where he studied.
Allyssa Gustafson, 24, who used to work at Circle Academy in Urbana, engaged in multiple sexual acts with the teenager after sending him pictures of herself in lingerie and a bathing suit.
School Catered to Behaviorally and Emotionally Challenged Students
Gustafson had engaged in at least five sexual encounters with the teenage boy between March and August last year while he was a student at the school, where she was employed as a teaching assistant.
The school, an educational program of the Cunningham Children's Home, serves students in kindergarten through high school with behavioral and emotional challenges that prevent them from being in traditional public school settings.
Communicated with the Teenager Over Social Media
According to prosecutors, the sexual encounters took place at the teen's Champaign home after Gustafson and the boy communicated through Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
In the chats, Gustafson expressed concern that others at the school may have found out about their alleged encounters. Police also discovered that Gustafson allegedly sent the teen photos of herself in lingerie and a swimsuit.
The boy's mother happened to see the photos and recollected seeing Gustafson at her son's school but initially thought she was a high school senior. In their last conversation, Gustafson told the victim to delete their chats and said she would have to block him.
Facing 15 Years in Prison
Gustafson will be sentenced on October 30 by Judge Roger Webber, who on Monday accepted her guilty plea to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. She avoided the more serious charge of criminal sexual assault as part of her plea deal.
Gustafson's attorney plans to request at her sentencing that his client serve probation and community service. However, prosecutors are pushing for the former teaching assistant to serve time. Under state law, sexual abuse of a minor carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.