Justine Nelson, a former middle school teacher in Fresno, California, is headed to trial after she admitted to having sex a student.
Nelson, 30, initially blamed the student for instigating the relationship. The student, who she met in the hallway of Tenaya Middle School, later outed the married Nelson by posting her nude photographs line.
On Tuesday, July 18, a judge ruled that Nelson will stand trial for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a 13-year-old boy. Nelson, who was arrested back in September 2016, was charged with multiple sex crimes.
Police said nude photos of Nelson popped up on social media, which prompted an investigation. The eighth grader who allegedly posted them didn’t even have Nelson as a teacher at Tenaya, but he told investigators she initiated their relationship in the school hallway.
From there, the relationship progressed to kissing and then more. Investigators said the boy remembered being 13 years old when they had their first sexual contact, then turning 14 before they stopped.
Nelson admitted to two or three sex acts, but told investigators the boy actually initiated it and even coerced her to do it by threatening to ruin her career and have her baby taken away.
Authorities said that Nelson admitted to ‘lapses in judgment’, including sending the boy messages about how she loved him.
If convicted, Nelson faces up to 14 years in prison. However, if prosecutors cannot prove that the student was 13 when the sex acts began, she would face only nine years.