Melissa Andreini, age 29, has plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in district court on Jan. 22. With her plea the original three charges have been dropped and she now faces only a third degree felony.
"Today was actually going to be the trial, but the defense wanted to resolved the matter, and Andreini decided to enter a plea." said prosecuting attorney Gene Strate. "She's undergone a psychological evaluation and now things will be turned over to the department of corrections."
Ms. Andreini who was a teacher at Helper Jr. High knew the victim through a group which would gather around her classroom before school began. The relationship, however did not begin until early last summer, when Ms. Andreini hired the victim who was 15-years-old at the time to do yard work for her. At this point according to the prosecution, a relationship developed and she had sexual intercourse with him. The relationship continued until the victim's mother found out and reported the incident to her lawyer who then alerted the Helper police. Once the investigation was underway, Ms. Andreini turned herself in to police.
"These types of cases are not very common in the area, and this is the first time we've had a female teacher," said Mr. Strate.
As the investigation started and evidence was gathered, another Helper Jr. High teacher was accused of similar conduct, however, Mr. Strate indicated that charges were dropped as there was not enough evidence.
As far as teaching Ms. Andreini has resigned from the school and Mr. Strate indicated that her license will likely, or has already been be revoked. As far as sentencing a pre-sentence investigation will be reviewed on March 22. Ms. Andreini faces a maximum of five years in Utah state prison and/or a $5,000 fine. With her plea she was informed of her waiver of rights and told that she must report to the department of corrections for the investigation on Monday Jan. 25.
"(In terms of sentencing) I don't know where the court will come down, but as she was not the victims teacher, it will be less serious," said Mr. Strate.
Utah has has a few similar cases, however many were more serious.