Wiping away tears, Giovanna Yaranga admitted in court to having sex with her 17-year-old student.
"I know what I did was wrong. I know I stepped over the line," Yaranga said.
Friday, the former Burlington High School Spanish teacher pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation for her behavior last fall.
"I am sorry I caused pain to his family. I am sorry I did this," Yaranga said.
"It's not just about the sex, it's about the violation of trust that occurred in this case," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan said.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Yaranga received a suspended sentence of 1-4 years. That means she'll avoid jail time as long as she obeys the terms of her 4-year probation, which includes sex offender therapy and no intentional contact with male minors. She'll also have to register as a sex offender for the next 14 years.
Donovan read an impact statement from the victim's mother at the sentencing. It said, "It is unimaginable to me that a teacher, a mother, a wife could behave this way with total disregard for the well-being of her student and disregard for laws, morality and the culture code of conduct."
As a convicted sex offender, Yaranga will also lose her teaching license.
"Nineteen years as an excellent teacher are gone because she crossed the line," said James Murdoch, Yaranga's lawyer.
"I understand that I have lost everything I have fought for for so many years," Yaranga said.
Donovan says the deal was in sync with what the victim and his family wanted. And he has high hopes for the student who is starting college.
"This is a young man who by all accounts is incredibly talented, incredibly skilled young man who will most likely go on to do great things," Donovan said.
While the Burlington School District fired Yaranga earlier this year for her behavior, the district is in the process of wrapping up its own investigation into whether allegations of her actions where appropriately reported to authorities in a timely manner.
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