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from www.nola.com – A Metairie woman who as an Archbishop Chapelle High School teacher had a three-month sexual relationship with a 17-year-old senior while at the Catholic girls school was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation after she confessed to “lewd and lascivious” contact with the teenager.
Jeannine Seoane, 48, a mother of two teenage girls, averted her trial Thursday by pleading guilty as charged to prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student, and to unlawful purchase of alcohol for someone younger than 21.
Both charges are misdemeanors carrying maximum sentences of six months in jail. In accepting Seoane’s guilty plea, Judge Ellen Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court suspended the jail time and ordered two years of probation with various conditions.
Those conditions include paying fines and fees, serving 100 hours of community service and making monthly visits to a psychiatrist and in court. Seoane also is barred from contacting the teen, in person or through social media, Kovach ordered.
“Your selfish, obsessive behavior has inflicted a lot of harm,” Kovach told Seoane after hearing testimony from the victim, now a 19-year-old college student, and her parents.
Seoane also must register as a sex offender and child predator for 15 years, a mandatory requirement under Louisiana law. Her attorney Mark Shea told Kovach he is considering challenging that requirement for a misdemeanor charge, on constitutional grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.
A former social studies teacher, Seoane was placed on leave from the school after she was arrested last year. She has been free from jail on a $3,000 personal surety bond since then.
On Thursday, she had the support of six women who sat behind her and her attorneys Shea and Bill Doyle in the courtroom. Her former student and her parents sat with their attorneys on the other side of the courtroom.
Assistant District Attorney Jeff Hufft, in providing a “factual basis” for the plea, described Seoane’s behavior as “acts of lewd and lascivious conduct” and genital touching. Seoane also provided alcohol to the victim during the relationship, which lasted from December 2011 to March 2012.
“Is that correct?” Kovach asked Seoane. “Yes,” she responded.
The victim, who is not being identified by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, said she is not gay, and told Kovach she felt betrayed by the teacher in whom she confided during a time in her life when her parents’ marriage was failing. “She used my vulnerability to seduce me,” the teenager testified.
After word of the relationship spread at the Metairie high school, she said she became the focus of “tons of gossip,” and was called “the ‘Seoane girl,’ in a negative way.”
She said she had thoughts of suicide. “My bedroom and my bed were my best friends,” she said. “That’s where I felt most comfortable.”
Her parents talked of failing their daughter and of anger for the teacher they knew but who appeared to stalk the young woman with drives past their home or through social media websites. Her mother said she suspected something, and that what happened “mortifies and sickens me every day.”
“I felt I didn’t do enough to protect my daughter,” the teen’s father testified.