A former high school teacher in Ohio has pleaded guilty to sexual battery charges years after she gave birth to her teenage student’s baby, PEOPLE confirms.
Prosecutors said that Laura Lynn Cross, 37, and the then-16-year-old boy became sexually involved while he was a student at Akron’s Buchtel High School, where Cross taught. She was reportedly an eighth-grade English teacher.
In court on Friday, Cross pleaded guilty to three counts of felony sexual battery.
She will be sentenced on May 24 by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien, who has been presiding over the case. She faces up to 21 years in prison.
An attorney for Cross did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment. The school district where she used to work did not have a comment on Thursday.
How the Case Came to Light
According to authorities, the nature of the relationship between Cross and the victim changed in 2015 when Cross resigned from the school and asked the boy’s mother to allow her to become his foster parent.
She told the boy’s mom that she wanted to “mentor him,” authorities said.
Cross became the teen’s legal guardian and was granted partial custody. According to court records, she moved the boy into her home.
Then, in June 2015, the boy’s mother started to suspect that something was going on between her son and Cross. She filed a police complaint about the affair that month and subsequently contacted the district attorney’s office.But no charges were filed at the time, and the boy continued living with Cross.
She delivered his baby in December 2015. The boy was 17 at the time.
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Charges were filed against Cross in August 2017 after a tipster called the teen’s father and told him about the baby, according to authorities. The father called his son, who was then 19, and he taped his son confessing to having a relationship with Cross — then forwarded that recording to police.
They took Cross into custody at her home.
“First of all, she’s a schoolteacher,” the teen’s father told local TV station WEWS in 2017, at the time of her arrest. “To get aroused by a child, basically you have to be a sick individual.”
“It was a straight failure from the system,” the father continued then. “From the school and definitely from the police.”