A 27-year-old Nebraska teacher was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of probation on July 17 for having sex with a 16-year-old former student.
Emily Lofing resigned from her position teaching language arts at a Nebraska middle school, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of debauching a minor, and could serve a minimum of 53 days in the case of good behavior, reports WOWT.
In the state, 16-year-olds are considered old enough to consent to sex, but some involved in the case found the timing to be particularly troubling.
"This alleged indiscretion, I'll say, took place on the victim's 16th birthday," Otoe County Court Judge John Steinheider said during the hearing, according to WOWT. "You were less than 24 hours from a felony here."
A Nebraska bill is in the works to make it illegal for any authority figures -- such as teachers -- to sleep with anyone under 18 years of age, but it is at least months away from passing into law.
"You send kids to school, to day care, to Bible school … and you expect them to be treated with respect and be in safe places and you took that away from at least the victim in this instance," Steinheider said, according to KWBE.
Metro notes that Lofing got married just two years before the incident occurred.
Desirae Solomon, Lofing's attorney, said that the former teacher "poof -- had a mental breakdown" that led to her making "an incredibly horrible decision" and that she is now working on changing her ways, according to WOWT.
"That's the tragedy of mental illness," Solomon said, notes KWBE. "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."
According to Solomon, the disgraced teacher was unhappy and stressed over her career path, and depression runs in her family.
"I would characterize it as [a double life], your honor, and I think the letters of support also entail that," explained the attorney. "They speak to a period of time when Ms. Lofing was living a double life. People who have known her for her whole entire life were shocked at this type of behavior."
Lofing will also pay a $1,000 fine and serve 240 hours of community service.
Otoe County Deputy Attorney John Palmtag had pushed for a harsh sentence, particularly since he said that this is the kind of case that will catch widespread attention.
"I would urge the court in this matter to send a strong message to the defendant and send a message to the people of the state that we as a society won't tolerate these sort of actions by our teachers in the classrooms," Palmtag said during the sentencing hearing. "We won't tolerate predatory acts among students."