Ex-teacher says middle schooler was a man to her

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A former math teacher sentenced to federal prison for a sex crime with a minor says the age of the 13-year-old schoolboy she fled with to Mexico didn't matter to her.

"We didn't see age anymore. ... In my mind he quit being a teenage boy. ... to me, he was a man," Kelsey Peterson said in a taped interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" aired Wednesday.

Peterson, 26, was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison and five years of supervised release. She also must register as a sex offender. She pleaded guilty in July to a charge of transporting a minor across state lines to have sex.

Peterson was the boy's sixth-grade math teacher at Lexington Middle School in south-central Nebraska during the 2005-06 school year and started having sex with him in November 2006, according to court documents.

The pair disappeared in October, soon after the district's superintendent confronted Peterson about allegations of an inappropriate relationship with the boy.

She was arrested a week later in Mexicali, Mexico, after the boy made a cell phone call to his family.

Peterson still faces state charges that include kidnapping, felony child abuse and first-degree sexual assault. Dawson County Attorney Elizabeth Waterman said Monday that her staff will work to get custody of Peterson so she can face those charges.

Peterson said in the ABC interview that she was drawn to the boy, then 12, and thought to herself, "I can change this guy." She said her actions were wildly out of line with her upbringing in a Christian household.

She had expected to grow up and get married, she said, then have children and live in a house with a picket fence.

"I made choice after choice after choice that didn't allow that," Peterson said.

In a separate interview, her attorney, James Martin Davis, blamed the boy. Davis has publicly questioned the boy's age, saying he was likely at least 16, despite Mexican documents and statements from the boy's family.

The Associated Press previously named the boy as police were searching for him but stopped using his name after authorities charged Peterson with a sex crime.

Peterson also expressed remorse for how her actions have affected her family and especially her 9-year-old daughter.

"She was my life," Peterson said. "I owe her more apologies than I can ever give."


On the Net:

Good Morning America: http://abcnews.go.com/gma

U.S. District Court, Nebraska: http://www.ned.uscourts.gov

Dawson County: http://www.dawsoncountyne.net

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