OGDEN An ex-junior high school teacher has been sentenced to a year in jail for a text message relationship he had with a 13-year-old girl.
Brandon Fessler, 26, was sentenced here in 2nd District Court on Monday to spend a year in the Weber County Jail after being convicted of two counts of class A misdemeanor stalking. In court, Fessler apologized to the girl's family, who urged the judge to give him the maximum sentence.
They described thousands of text messages traded back and forth between Fessler and the girl, who is now 15. One of the girl's relatives read a poem that was allegedly written by Fessler, over objections from the ex-teacher's defense attorney, who claimed to have never seen it before.
The poem said the relationship began with a text message the girl sent to Fessler, asking "When is the assignment due?" and ended with "You taught me the poetic measure of love and the meaning of life."
The girl's family said they tried to reason with Fessler before going to police.
"I begged you to leave us alone," the girl's mother said in court. "She's convinced you're in love with each other."
The judge made a restraining order permanent, ordering both Fessler and the girl's family to have no contact with each other. Beyond the year in jail, Fessler also was ordered to pay for therapy for the girl and her family, have no contact with any female under 18 without an adult present, and have no cell phone, text message or Internet access, except for his work.
The judge allowed Fessler to be released from jail each day to go to his new job. He is no longer a teacher, Weber County education officials said."The problem I have with the whole case is the position of trust a teacher has toward students," Judge Roger Dutson said. "There's no question the defendant was a predator toward the ... victim."