URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A former teacher's assistant accused of sexually assaulting a teen is facing charges.
In a Tuesday court appearance, 23-year-old Mattoon and former Champaign woman Allyssa E. Gustafson was arraigned on a criminal sexual assault charge, which is a Class 1 felony. She's accused of involving a 14-year-old teen in sexual acts.
Prosecutors said Gustafson was employed at Circle Academy in Urbana when the crime occurred between March 1 and Aug. 30. Circle, which is a program with the Cunningham Children's Home, serves K-12 students who deal with "behavioral and emotional challenges" that keep them from taking part in a tradition school experience, according to The News-Gazette.
An alleged sexual encounter between the suspect and the victim happened at his home in Champaign, prosecutors said, and Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Alferink asserted police had information that the woman and teen had as many as five sexual encounters before the end of the previous school year.
She said police learned Gustafson and the teen talked through Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, and she allegedly sent him pictures to him with her wearing lingerie and a swimsuit. She later sent a message saying he needed to delete their conversations and told him she had to block him, per Alferink.
Bail for Gustafson was originally $250,000, but was later dropped to $100,000 after her lawyer, Mark Lipton of Champaign, argued he and the suspect knew about the investigation for approximately a month and that she had followed instructions regarding her own child with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Gustafson could face other charges, prosecutors said, and sentences for those would have to be served consecutively if she's found guilty in court.
The suspect was ordered to not make contact with the victim or his home and to appear in court on Dec. 3.