A former Corona special education teacher who engaged in sex acts with five of her male students was sentenced today to three years in state prison.
"You're a mother yourself. It's beyond me to understand your behavior," Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan told 32-year-old Summer Michelle Hansen.
Hansen pleaded guilty in February to seven counts of oral copulation of a minor, six counts of statutory rape and three counts of distributing pornographic material to a child. Her plea was made directly to Dugan, without any negotiation between the defense and prosecution.
The District Attorney's Office objected to the plea agreement, saying it was too lenient, and several of the victims' parents today expressed dismay that the judge signed off on it -- in light of the fact that Hansen would have faced 13 years behind bars if convicted at trial.
"My child was sought out and pursued when he was 16 years old," said the mother of a boy identified only as John Doe No. 2. "My son was victimized by this deviant. She is a predator... Her acts against these children make her a threat to society. The court's (plea) offer is gender-biased. Summer Hansen is getting a slap on the wrist, and the victims are getting a slap in the face."
About 10 people appeared in support of Hansen, while double that number appeared on behalf of the victims.
The mother of one teen, identified only as John Doe No. 1, condemned Hansen as a traitor to her profession.
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"You used your position to have access to young boys. You were a predator inside the gates," the woman said. "The anguish you have caused my son and the rest of the family has been unbearable."
Hansen sobbed through much of the hearing. She addressed the victims' families for roughly eight minutes, saying that her heart was "broken" and she had asked forgiveness from God for her crimes.
"I will pray for myself and for all the people I've affected," she said. "I would give anything to take back the things that have gone on the last two years. I am not a monster. I made some bad choices in life. For that I'm truly sorry."
In answer to criticism about the plea deal, Dugan said she considered Hansen's remorse, admittance of guilt and lack of prior criminal history as factors in determining an appropriate sentence. The judge also expressed concern about the “humiliation” the victims might have endured had the case gone to trial.
"Three years in prison is going to be a significant behavior changer for the defendant," Dugan said.
The judge pointed out that Hansen will be required to register as a convicted sex offender for life, barring her from ever working with minors again.
Hansen was arrested in 2013 following a Corona police investigation that uncovered numerous instances in which the educator had inappropriate contact with the boys, whose names were withheld.
All of them were students at Centennial High School, where the defendant taught special education until her suspension without pay on June 19, 2013.
She was officially terminated today by the Corona-Norco Unified School District. According to district spokeswoman Evita Tapia-Gonzalez, Hansen worked at Centennial for roughly 5 1/2 years before her arrest.
According to prosecutors, Hansen had relations with the victims in 2012 and 2013, though the boys' loved ones insisted in court today that the illicit encounters occurred over a much longer period of time.
Hansen arranged rendezvous in classrooms, a utility closet, cars and in at least one victim's house, investigators said.
According to a bail-setting affidavit filed by prosecutors, Hansen had oral sex with a student who was in her classroom for Saturday school; sent a former student texts that were “sexual in nature”; sent students cell phone photos of herself naked; and had sex with two students on campus.
One 17-year-old boy stated that "Hansen made him feel like he was the only one engaged in this sexual relationship with her. (He) stated that while engaging in these sexual acts, he lost his virginity with Hansen."
Another 17-year-old said Hansen initially contacted him about a school function, but "the texting and phone calls turned to flirting and eventually kissing on two separate occasions and then to having sexual intercourse in her classroom after school hours," according to the affidavit.