A former Norwalk teacher convicted of sexual battery was sentenced to three years of community control this morning in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court.
(NOTE - To see photos from today's hearing, click HERE.)
Alexa Nasonti, who was a first-year art teacher, will also have to register as a Tier III sex offender every 90 days for the rest of her life, continue mental health counseling, perform 100 hours community service and have no contact with the juvenile boy victim. She must also reimburse the court for costs and fees, said Judge John Dewey.
If Nasonti violates the terms of the community control, she could face 12 months in prison, the judge added.
The sexual battery conviction is a third-degree felony.
"I'm extremely sorry for the hurt and pain I've caused everybody," Nasonti, a Castalia resident, said in court.
The charge stems from a sexual relationship Nasonti had with a 17-year-old Norwalk High School student this past spring. She was 25 at the time, and the criminal sex act occurred in the Sandusky County portion of Bellevue. In August, she pleaded guilty to the indictment.
After today's hearing, defense attorney K. Ron Bailey said the sentence was fair.
"I understand some people look at this and say a female should be treated just the same as a male, but really, it's different," Bailey said. "She is very remorseful and I know a lot of people say they are, but she really is."
Bailey talked about what Nasonti now faces.
"Basically, she has to start over," Bailey said. "She won't be able to continue to teach and she has to register as a sex offender so that will keep her out of a lot of employment.
"She's lost her job, lost her license, has significant school loan debt and has been humiliated in the press and public," he added.
Nasonti cared for the victim, Bailey said.
"She wanted to help him, but crossed a line she shouldn't have crossed," he said.
Sandusky County Prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt had pressed for stronger sanctions against Nasonti.
"I would've liked to see some jail time," he said. "But that's why the judge is the judge and he has the ultimate decision."
Stierwalt said he pushed for jail time at the urging of the victim's family due to alleged contact between Nasonti and victim during the court process.
Bailey said he was unaware of any contact.
Nasonti's mother said the victim had tried to contact Nasonti through Nasonti's sister.
"True or false?" the judge asked Nasonti about if she contacted the victim.
"False," she said.
Nasonti told the judge she had seasonal employment, but now is unemployed.
She faces $65,000 in student loans.
Stierwalt said he would now have to send a report about the conviction to the Ohio Department of Education regarding Nasonti's teaching license.
The judge said Nasonti has the right to appeal within 30 days. As a convicted felon, she may not own or possess a firearm and must submit a DNA sample.