Thanks to legendary grade-school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau, Washington state will have an eternal place of prominence in the pantheon of teacher-student sex romps. However, Florida is probably ground zero for this persistent national epidemic.
The latest Floridian to get busted and convicted for molesting a student is Ethel Anderson, a former teacher at Mango Elementary school in the suburban haven of Seffner, Fla.—about 15 miles from Tampa.
On Wednesday, a jury found Anderson guilty of nine sex-crime charges for molesting a student who was 12 years old at the time.
During math tutoring sessions at her home, Anderson, 31, had a series of sexual dalliances with the boy that included oral sex and inappropriate touching, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Anderson shared the home with her husband. The teacher is also the mother of a six-year-old daughter.
In 2011, Anderson was named Mango Elementary’s diversity school teacher of the year, notes local CBS affiliate WTSP.
The three-day trial was at turns harrowing and bizarre.
For the harrowing the part, prosecutors presented over 230 pages of variously obscene, scheming and insecure text messages. She sent texts about her lust. She sent texts concerning her anxiety about her body.
For his part, the 12-year-old boy occasionally took the name Dirty Dan, an alias SpongeBob SquarePants uses in an episode called “Survival of the Idiots.”
There was Anderson’s clandestinely-taped confession to the unnamed student’s mother.
The boy, now 14, also testified at the trial.
“I felt she was like my real girlfriend,” he said, according to The Tampa Tribune. “She said I was her boyfriend and she loved me. I was thinking, ‘I’m living a guy’s dream…dating my teacher.'”
There was also talk of divorce.
“Ethel said she was planning on leaving her husband because he wasn’t a good dad and he didn’t communicate,” he explained.
However, the boy said he eventually began to have doubts.
“I’m dating a girl I’m in love with and she thinks of me as a kid,” he testified. “It doesn’t feel right.”
The bizarre part came when Anderson testified on her own behalf.
After asserting that the boy instigated sexual relations and she “pushed him off,” Anderson explained that the throng of text messages was merely part of a brilliant “sexual therapy” ploy “to get his attention for the purpose of his education.”
The Daily Caller is not making this up.
“I recognize it was explicit and inappropriate, but it was all fantasy,” Anderson said, according to the Tribune. “He was going through puberty. He couldn’t connect with his family. He was always thinking sexually. My purpose was to get his attention.”
The jury didn’t buy it.
None of the jurors who rendered the guilty verdict spoke to the local press. However, alternate juror Steven Marshall provided his insight.
“It looked really sketchy, with the sexual therapy,” Marshall told the Times.
“I don’t know. You don’t do that with a 12 year old,” he added, according to ABC Action News.
Anderson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5. Each of the charges against her carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.