A 25-year-old elementary school teacher who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one of her 11-year-old male students because she wanted to make the boy ‘happy’ because he was ‘chronically depressed’ was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday.
Katherine Gonzalez of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was arrested on March 5 and charged with one count of first degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.
In August, she pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a child.
Since March, she has been out on bail.
During that time, Gonzalez told the court that she has been receiving treatment, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
During her sentencing on Tuesday, she miserably apologized ‘for my unthinkable actions.’
Gonzalez says that the treatment she has undergone in the last few months has helped her have fewer flashbacks from when she was sexually assaulted in college.
In spite of the fact that the relationship between Gonzalez and the student never intensified to sexual intercourse, Judge Mark Sanders said that the severe sentence in this case is meant to deter others from committing similar crimes.
Neither the boy nor his family were in court for Gonzalez’s sentencing.
Prosecutors said the fifth grade teacher at Atlas Preparatory Academy, a Choice school, had been messaging one of her male students on SnapChat.
According to the criminal complaint, Gonzalez had contact with the student in her car and at her home.
The two touched each other’s ‘private parts through their clothing,’ prosecutors said.
The teacher told the student not to tell anyone about their relationship because she could lose her job and go to jail.
Gonzalez told authorities that the victim is ‘chronically depressed’ and confessed to saying things to make the 11-year-old boy happy.
According to her interview with police, she told authorities that she wanted the child to see that someone cared.
Officials with the school sent a letter home to parents on March 3 announcing that one of the teachers had been placed on administrative leave.
The letter, which was signed by Atlas Preparatory Academy executive director Michelle Lukacs, stated that the Milwaukee Police Department is investigating a report that accuses a teacher at the school of having inappropriate conduct with an underage student outside of school grounds.