TAMPA, Fla. - A jury has convicted a former Mango Elementary school teacher of performing sex acts on a 12-year-old former student.
Ethel Anderson was convicted on all nine counts of lewd and lascivious behavior.
Prosecutors say Anderson had oral sex and other sexual contact with the boy, whom she tutored on Saturdays at her Riverview home in 2011 and early last year a home she shared with her husband and kids.
"We would make out, tongue kiss," the victim says in testimony during the trial on Tuesday. 10 News is not identifying the victim, who is now 14 years old.
"The story is remarkable. Not true, it didn't happen," says Anderson's attorney Will Knight. During closing arguments, Knight tells the jury the victim made up the story.
"Because he's angry, he's been told he's failing. Does he want to be a 13-year-old in 5th grade? Right after that is when he made the allegations."
But in the end, prosecutor Rita Peters convinced jurors that more than 230 explicit texts Anderson admits to sending the boy backs up his story.
Peters say, "That was basically a diary of their relationship. That is evidence of her conduct and that is evidence of her crime. What better evidence than her own words, than her own feelings, than her own thoughts?"
Anderson told jurors she sent the boy texts some about porn and sexual acts to make him a better student. She called it "sex therapy."
Anderson says, "That was my purpose, to gain his attention. And yes, I did it in an inappropriate way."
Both the victim and his mother cried while the verdict was read. His mother tells reporters she got justice for her son.
Anderson is being held at the Hillsborough County Jail. Her sentencing is set for Nov. 5 and she faces a maximum of 135 years in jail; each count carries a 15-year sentence.
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