A 27-year-old special education teacher has dodged a jail term after the student she was having sex with declared her love for the errant educator.
A former high school teacher, Jennifer Walsh pleaded guilty in a Cincinnati court in the US state of Ohio on Friday to interfering with the custody of a child.
Jennifer had originally been charged with gross sexual imposition and sexual battery over her relationship with the then 17-year-old student, but this was downgraded after a plea deal.
Walsh was then sentenced to probation for her sex crimes.
The charges had involved sex acts between May and August last year.
The deal came after Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Jody Luebbers delayed sentencing earlier this week after hearing from the student Walsh had been sexually involved.
“I know in my heart that I am completely in love with this woman, without a doubt,” the unnamed student – who is now 18 – told the court.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Walsh was in tears as she listened to her victim give evidence.
Luebbers then asked the prosecution to reconsider their case.
In court, the prosecution said the victim and victim’s mother were in favour of the agreement.
According to the prosecutor, Walsh engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with the student. At one point, Walsh and the teen crossed state lines.
The victim involved is not a student with disabilities, according to a school spokeswoman.
During sentencing, Judge Jody said she took into consideration a letter from the victim, now 18, and a detective’s evidence.
“The detective said you were not a sexual predator and I don’t think you are either,” Luebbers said.
Walsh, who has no criminal history, turned herself into authorities last year.
“Of course every case deserves individual attention and every case is different and very fact-specific and this truly is a unique case,” the judge said.
Luebbers sentenced Walsh to one year of community control and a $US100 ($A142) fine. If the former teacher violates any conditions of her probation she faces up to one year in prison.
Walsh resigned from her position at Sycamore High School in October last year.