Allyssa Gustafson pleaded guilty to one count aggravated criminal sexual abuse after engaging in a sex act with a 14-year-old boy

By Steve Helling
November 05, 2020 02:59 PM
Credit: Champaign County Jail

An Illinois teaching assistant has avoided jail time after she admitted to sexually abusing a teenage boy in her class.

Allyssa Gustafson pleaded guilty in September to one count aggravated criminal sexual abuse after admitting that she engaged in a sex act with a 14-year-old boy who was a student while she worked at Circle Academy in Urbana. The school serves children who struggle in traditional classroom settings.

While Gustafson faced jail time, Judge Roger Webber ruled that she was no longer a danger to the public. Instead of incarceration, she will receive four years of probation and will have to register as a sex offender for life.

According to the News Gazette, Judge Webber called the sex offender registry "the modern-day equivalent of the scarlet letter" and said it would be a lifelong punishment for Gustafson.

Gustafson allegedly had at least five sexual encounters with the 14-year-old victim. The sexual contact began in March 2019 when he was enrolled at the school, according to WAND-TV.

Prosecutors said that Gustafson communicated with the boy over Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. She also sent him photos of herself in a bathing suit and lingerie. The boy's mother told police that she recalled seeing Gustafson at their home, but believed her to be a high school senior.

After seeing the photos and learning that Gustafson was 24, the boy's mother reported her to the police.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of criminal sexual assault. Prosecutors hoped that she would serve some jail time.

Gustafson now works at a fast food restaurant and recently had a baby girl. During sentencing, she apologized for her actions.

“I made a terrible error in judgment and this has hurt a lot of people,” Gustafson said while apologizing to her victim and his mother. “I am sorry for the pain I have caused so many people.”