On Monday, a former Nebraska Teacher who was married and accused of having sex with a student on his 16th birthday was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years probation.
Emily Lofing, a former language arts teacher at Nebraska City Middle School in Weeping Water, Nebraska, who was married in 2014, could serve one year in jail but with good behavior she could be released in 53 days.
Lofing’s attorney had argued, “For lack of a better terms, in her life, poof - she had a mental breakdown. She makes an incredibly horrible decision.” She also stated:
That’s the tragedy of mental illness. It doesn’t know demographics. It doesn’t know race. It doesn’t know age. It doesn’t know education, and, when mental illness strikes, it can sometimes do so without any warning. I would characterize it as, your honor, and I think the letters of support also entail that. They speak to a period of time when Ms. Lofing was living a double life. People who have known her for her whole entire life were shocked at this type of behavior.”
But Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag countered, “I would urge the court in this matter to send a strong message to the defendant and send a message to the people of the state that we as a society won’t tolerate these sort of actions by our teachers in the classrooms. We won’t tolerate predatory acts among students.”
Otoe County Court Judge John Steinheider noted that if Lofing had slept with the student one day earlier, she would have been in even bigger trouble, as he said, “This alleged indiscretion, I’ll say, took place on the victim's 16th birthday. You were less than 24 hours from a felony here.” He added, “You send kids to school, to day care, to Bible school … and you expect them to be treated with respect and be in safe places and you took that away from at least the victim in this instance.”
According to Nebraska law, a 16-year-old can consent to sex.
Lofing's case was classified as a misdemeanor case of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Unicameral is considering a bill that would make it illegal for teachers or anyone in a position of authority to have sex with 16 and 17 year-olds.