The lawyer for a Nebraska teacher accused of having birthday sex with a 16-year-old claims her client’s behavior stemmed from mental illness.
Emily Lofing, 27, a former teacher at Nebraska City Middle School in Weeping Water, allegedly slept with the boy on his 16th birthday last year and appeared in court for a sentencing hearing Monday, the New York Post reported.
Lofing’s attorney, Desirae Solomon, claims her behavior was due to her family history of depression and stress from work, KWBE reports.
“That’s the tragedy of mental illness,” Solomon told Judge John Steinheider. “It doesn’t know demographics. It doesn’t know race. It doesn’t know age. It doesn’t know education, and, when mental illness strikes, it can sometimes do so without any warning.”
Solomon added that her client received letters of support saying the crime was very unlike her.
Judge Steinheider, convinced Lofing narrowly dodged a more serious crime, sentenced her Monday to 90 days behind bars, two years of probation, and ordered that she perform 240 hours of community service.
“This alleged indiscretion, I’ll say, took place on the victim’s 16th birthday,” the judge said, according to WOWT. “You were less than 24 hours from a felony here.”
In Nebraska, the age of consent is 16. Therefore, Lofing was only charged with a misdemeanor count of debauching a minor.
She pleaded no contest and voluntarily gave up her teaching license.
Steinheider added that Lofing would be eligible to be released after 53 days if she stayed on her best behavior.