An Illinois teaching assistant was sentenced to four years probation last week for sexually abusing a teenage student of hers, according to reports. Allysa Gustafson pleaded guilty in September to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after admitting that she engaged in a sex act with a 14-year-old boy who was her student at Circle Academy in Urbana, according to News Gazette.
In exchange for her plea, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Alferink dismissed a more serious count of criminal sexual assault. Gustafson and the teen had allegedly had several sexual encounters between May and August 2019, the outlet reported.
Gustafson faced five years in jail but a judge ruled that the woman, who has no previous criminal convictions, was no longer a danger to the public and instead gave her four years probation.
"The public doesn’t need to be protected from her,” Webber said.
She also has to register as a lifetime sex offender, the "modern-day equivalent of the scarlet letter," Judge Roger Webber said last Friday, according to the outlet.
Her attorney, Mark Lipton, had a sex-offender evaluator and treatment provider Michael Klepping testify that Gustafson was at a low-risk threat to re-offend and over the past seven months had been provided counseling, the outlet reported.
“I made a terrible error in judgment and this has hurt a lot of people,” Gustafson said. “I am sorry for the pain I have caused so many people.”
In addition to her sentence, Gustafson has to spend 180 days in jail, but set a hearing in December to see if she can qualify for electronic home detention., the outlet reported.