Source AP ©

Teacher who had sex with teen student to plead guilty

A former teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old student and fleeing with him to Mexico is expected to plead guilty to reduced charges, her attorney said Tuesday.

James Martin Davis, the attorney for 26-year-old Kelsey Peterson, said his client will plead guilty Wednesday to federal charges of transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of sex.

It's similar to the original charge of crossing a border to have sex with a minor but doesn't carry a minimum 10-year-sentence, Davis said.

A message left for the U.S. Attorney's office in Nebraska on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Peterson and the boy left Lexington in October. They were found a week later in Mexicali, Mexico.

The boy, who is now 14, has told The Associated Press that he did not consider Peterson his girlfriend but that they did have sex.

Davis has maintained that the law under which Peterson was being charged was more severe and was intended to combat forced prostitution. Other women accused of sex with minors didn't face nearly as harsh of sentences, he said.

"She's always said like I did, she'd plead to what she did do, but she wasn't going to plead to what she didn't do," Davis said Tuesday.

Davis said he expects his client will spend six to seven years in prison. She could be sentenced to up to 30 years, Davis said.

He said he hopes state charges, which include kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault, will be dropped. An after-hours call to the Dawson County attorney's office on Tuesday was not answered.

The Associated Press previously named the boy as police were searching for him but stopped using his name after authorities charged Peterson with a sex crime.

He was an illegal immigrant in the United States when he left with Peterson. He is back in Nebraska temporarily after being granted humanitarian parole by the Department of Homeland Security.

AP photo

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