Stephanie Peterson, a 27-year-old former middle school teacher, was arrested in February after a 14-year-old student informed his parents about his relationship with the teacher. She ultimately pleaded guilty to having sex with the student and sending him nude photos. For her interactions with the child, as part of her deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to two felonies.
The boy told his parents in February that Peterson, then a science teacher at New Smyrna Beach Middle School in Florida, would pick him up from the house around 11:00 pm. The pair would then spend hours together while Peterson’s husband, a firefighter, was at work.
The student claimed that they had sex at Peterson’s home, in her car, and in a barn behind his own house.
He also said that Peterson had sent him nude pictures and purchased marijuana for him along with a “bowl to smoke it.”
Snapchat messages between Peterson and the teen were released by the State Attorney’s Office. The content of the messages showed a Peterson panicking after learning the boy’s parents were aware of the relationship and his mother’s intent to go to the police.
“So, she’s planning on doing something with it,” Peterson wrote the student, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
“I hate you,” she continued. “So much.”
Originally, Peterson had intended to plead no contest during her court appearance on Tuesday. However, Judge Raul Zambrano stated that he would not accept a no contest plea in a sex case.
“The component of any sentence is treatment, and a component of treatment is admitting that you did what you did,” the judge told Peterson.
“If you plead no contest here, they go to treatment, and they don’t want to admit anything.”
Peterson pleaded guilty to one count of lewd or lascivious battery sex act with a child as well as one count of transmission of harmful material to minors by electronic means.
She’ll face a minimum of five years in prison, though the maximum could lead her to be incarcerated for 10 years. Additionally, she will be required to register as a sex offender.