Justine Karen Nelson, a 33-year-old former teacher at Tenaya Middle School in California, has been charged with felony lewd or lascivious acts with a minor and oral copulation after she allegedly engaged in oral sex with a 13-year-old student.
According to reports, the unidentified victim — who is now 16-years-old — testified on Thursday, March 28, that he and Nelson would engage in oral sex in her classroom. Additionally, the victim says their relationship carried on through two months as they communicated through text.
“She was the cool teacher that everyone liked. If you had a bad day you could talk to her,” the underage victim testified.
Additionally, the victim claims that it was Nelson, who was not even the boy’s own teacher, who initiated contact.
“She texted I was cute and wanted me to kiss her. I was shocked; I didn’t know what to do,” he said in court.
Justine Karen Nelson is just the latest in a string of education officials to be arrested and charged for sex-related crimes.
Since the beginning of 2019 alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teacher Meredith Null was arrested on similar charges.
As for why there has been an increase in teacher’s being charged with sex-related crimes over recent years, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.
According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.
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