Fresno, CA – Closing arguments are expected on Monday for a middle school teacher who claimed she performed oral sex on a 13-year-old student because he had threatened to expose their activities.
Justine Karen Nelson is on trial for sexual assault on an 8th Grade student, the Fresno Bee reported.
Prosecutors said that Nelson, who was 31 years old when the assault occurred, was married and had a child when she became infatuated with a tall boy on the basketball team.
Initially, the teacher lied to police and said she hadn’t messaged the student, shared semi-naked photos of herself with him, or given him oral sex, according to the Fresno Bee.
Then she claimed they became sexually involved after the student had come to her classroom between classes, and pushed her onto a desk and kissed her, the Fresno Bee reported.
The teacher said she screamed and ran off.
At trial, Nelson admitted to prosecutors that she may have kissed the boy back but said that it was only a natural instinct, the Fresno Bee reported.
“It’s a natural instinct to kiss a child who just pushed you down on a desk?” Deputy District Attorney Liz Owen asked.
And Nelson replied that it was.
The teacher told police she knew the engaging in sexual relations with a student was wrong but continued it because she had feelings for the boy and was flattered by his attention, the Fresno Bee reported.
She claimed she continued seeing him and performed oral sex on the student because he threatened to expose what they were doing if she didn’t do what he wanted.
Nelson testified on Wednesday that she was afraid of losing her teaching job, and possibly her child, if her sexual escapades were discovered, according to the Fresno Bee.
Nearly 100 pages of Instagram messages showed that the teacher had referred to the student as “boo” or “love” and sent him semi-nude photos of herself, but there were no messages that contained any threats, the Fresno Bee reported.
Nelson told the prosecutor that the boy had only threatened to divulge their activities face-to-face.
She was charged with lewd or lascivious acts with a minor and oral copulation, according to the Fresno Bee.
While in custody, Nelson joked that she was “hooking up” with a 14 year old.
If convicted, the former teacher could be sentenced to as much as eight years and eight months in prison, the Fresno Bee reported.