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Nicole McDonough, a 32-year-old New Jersey English teacher, is facing three counts of official misconduct—one for having sex with a high school student, and two for texting and seeing two other boys outside of class. Her lawyer argued in court on Wednesday that her crimes are "victimless" and none of the boys "have felt victimized."
Her attorney Timothy Smith reminded the court that McDonough is a single mother of two with a heroin addict ex, and argued that five years of prison time would be "unduly harsh," reports the Daily Mail.
McDonough applied to enter a Pre-Trial Intervention program for non-violent, first-time offenders; however, her application was rejected, and she now faces prison time.
"I'm sensitive to the fact that she is a single parent and her husband has substance abuse issues," the assistant prosecutor Christopher Schellhorn said, "But that's insulting to other single parents that don't turn to seeking sex from high school students."
Smith argued that McDonough embarked on a sexual relationship with one of her students in 2013 to seek "emotional, mental, and/or physical sexual gratification." He has previously said he would move to have the indictment dismissed.
NJ.com reports that the three boys, including the two she exchanged texts with in 2014, were 18 years old at the time, so McDonough is not facing any sex charges. However, she could see up to 10 years and a minimum of five in prison if convicted of official misconduct charges.
McDonough pled not guilty to the charges back in January. Smith called it "rogue prosecution" in court on Friday.