SKOKIE, Ill. (STMW) – A former Maine East High School teacher who admitted having an eight-month sexual relationship with a former student was sentenced to 30 months probation Thursday after pleading guilty to aggravated battery.
Jennifer Espinosa, 38, of Park Ridge, was being held on a $50,000 bond after her arrest on May 23, 2009. Espinosa, a married mother of two girls and former Maine East soccer coach, told police she loves the boy, a gang member who was expelled from the school in September 2008, investigators said.
Espinosa was initially charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, authorities said.
On Thursday, Judge Larry Axelrood sentenced Espinosa to 30 months probation after she pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin said.
Judge Axelrood also ordered Espinosa to surrender her teacher’s license, Conklin said.
Police pulled over Espinosa’s SUV on May 23, 2009, in Des Plaines after smelling a strong odor of marijuana coming from the Honda Pilot’s open windows.
Police recognized the 16-year-old boy and another man in the car, Alejandro Landi, 22, of Niles, as gang members. Police searched the car and found a bag of suspected marijuana.
Landi was charged with misdemeanor drug possession. Details of Espinosa’s relationship with the boy emerged during questioning at sheriff’s police headquarters.
Espinosa, a science and special ed teacher, told police she had been the boy’s teacher and mentor, and their relationship began after he was expelled. Police said she told them she had sex with the boy many times in her Park Ridge home and in her car near the school.
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