A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, teacher was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student.
April Novak, 30, was charged with 12 counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff, and could face six years in prison if convicted, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Novak reportedly engaged in sexual activities with the teen as many as 12 times in her classroom since October. The teen told investigators the pair agreed to keep their affair a secret.
Although she knew the sex was illegal, Novak said the relationship was mutual and that the two had “very strong feelings for each other.”
“Ms. Novak's actions, as detailed in the criminal complaint, do not represent the expectations we hold for our staff, nor are her actions a reflection of the conduct of our other district employees,” Menomonee Falls Superintendent Patricia Greco said.
“The behavior described within the criminal complaint violates the trust of the student's family, Ms. Novak's family and the community and the expectations we hold for any educator.”
According to a criminal complaint, all of the sexual intercourse took place inside Novak’s classroom -- never outside the school.
Greco said school officials are currently focusing on the student and making sure to do all they can to “support all of the family members impacted.”
“This team works hard to do a great job -- so it rocks emotionally all of the members impacted by this. It’s been hard on the administrative team, the staff members. They want to make sure that every day there is that sense of passion and commitment, and positive learning environment,” Greco said.
“That has to take extra effort to rebuild because of these actions. It’s hard to describe the level of emotion when you’re working with an individual student and a family. Ms. Novak’s behavior broke a significant amount of trust.”
Cassie Hintz said her 16-year-old daughter was a student of Novak’s, and that she was shocked to learn of the allegations.
“She was on point. She made sure my daughter was cooperative, she made sure she was doing her work, and very helpful. I can't believe this is happening,” Hintz said.
Novak, who had been employed with the school since 2013, appeared in court on December 22 -- the same day that charges were formally filed. She was seen in court wearing a protective vest after reportedly threatening to crash her car in an attempt to harm herself.
Bail was set at $100,000. If convicted, Novak faces a $10,000 fine per charge in addition to a prison sentence.
Novak resigned from the school after being placed on administrative leave. Novak’s husband filed for divorce the day before she appeared in court, reports Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, although WITI says he filed for separation/annulment.