Teacher claims she was 'forced' to perform oral sex on student, 14, after he blackmailed her
31-year-old Justine Nelson took the witness stand on April 3 in Fresno, California, in order to defend herself against the felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and oral copulation
A married former middle school teacher who was accused of performing oral sex on a minor has now claimed that she was pressured and forced into it by the student. 31-year-old Justine Nelson took the witness stand on April 3 in Fresno, California, in order to defend herself against the felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and oral copulation. She told the jurors that what had looked like an innocent friendship with the then 14-year-old student turned into threats and blackmail.
The Daily Mail reported that she also said she had finally performed the sex act out of the fear that she would lose custody of her young child. Nelson testified in court that her friendship with the student started when they were having conversations about basketball in her classroom at the Tenaya Middle School.
This was before the pair eventually moved on to direct messages on Instagram as well as secret text messages, the Fresno Bee reported. The former teacher admitted that the student's attention worked as an ego-boost amidst all the difficulty in her relationship with her husband since their marriage was on the rocks at the time.
She even testified at one point that she sent a photo of herself at a bachelorette party to the student. Roger Nuttall, her attorney, asked: "Why did you do that?" She replied: "For attention. ... It's embarrassing." When asked if she thought it was appropriate to send the photo, Nelson responded: "No. For starters, I'm married and I knew it would hurt my husband. And I'm a teacher."
Nelson continued to say how she was forced into committing the deed as she said that one day at school, the student had gone into her room, kissed her spontaneously, and then ran out. She told the court that she was upset but did not report the incident after the student apologized and she forgave him. She then testified that the student was getting bolder after that by entering her classroom, closing the door, and demanding they have sex or oral sex.
The teacher said that she resisted his demands but was living in fear that he would expose their illegal relationship, causing her to lose custody of her child. She testified more by saying the student had gone to her classroom one day and pulled his pants down, and pushed her head towards his exposed penis. Nelson wept at the witness stand and said: "I just wanted to get it over with. I was so sick and tired. I thought he would stop asking me and just go away. I didn't want my baby to be taken away."
During a police interview, Nelson told detectives the student threatened to spread rumors about her if she did not consent. She also admitted to sending him and another former student semi-nude photos of herself. But prior to this, in 2016, Fresno police sex crimes detectives, Sylvia Martinez and Derek Avila had interviewed Nelson at her school where they had asked her about the allegations brought against her. The teacher's reply at that time had been "That’s seriously disgusting."
The student, who is now 16-years-old, has a completely different version of events while testifying last week. He said that Nelson was the one who initiated the relationship and had repeatedly invited him to her classroom to perform oral sex on him.
The authorities said that the case was brought to their attention when the student posted nude photos of Nelson on social media. If Nelson is ever convicted of the charges that have been brought against her, she could face up to 14 years behind bars and be required to register as a sex offender.