A primary school teacher has been sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old pupil because she wanted to make the “chronically depressed” boy “happy”.
Katherine Gonzalez, 25, from Wisconsin in the US, was arrested on 5 March and charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.
She pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a child in August, and was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Ms Gonzalez, who worked as a fifth-grade teacher at Atlas Preparatory Academy, reportedly told police she wanted the child to see that someone cared.
Police said she told them the boy was “chronically depressed” and admitted telling him things to make him happy.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim told police he and Ms Gonzalez had been communicating over Snapchat before she picked him up in her car, which is when the assaults took place.
The two touched each other’s private parts through their clothes, prosecutors said at the time.
Although the relationship between Ms Gonzalez and the student never escalated to sexual intercourse, Judge Mark Sanders said it warranted a serious sentence in order to teach others to exercise better judgement.
During her sentencing on Tuesday, Ms Gonzalez tearfully apologised, saying her actions had been “unthinkable”.
She said treatment she had undergone in the last few months while on bail had helped her have fewer flashbacks from when she was sexually assaulted in college.
Officials with the school sent a letter home to parents in March announcing that one of the teachers had been placed on administrative leave.
The letter, which was signed by the executive director, of the school, reportedly stated that the Milwaukee Police Department was investigating a report that accuses a teacher at the school of having inappropriate conduct with an underage student.