By Charlotte Huffman
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- Former Lower Moreland High School math teacher, Erica Ann Ginnetti, appeared before a Montgomery County judge Friday morning to be sentenced for having sex with a student.
Ginnetti faced up to seven years in prison for institutional sexual assault and disseminating sexually explicit materials to a minor. Charges she previously pled guilty to.
Ginnetti was fired from her teaching position following her January 2014 arrest and will never be allowed to teach again as a result of the revocation of her teaching certificate.
Behind closed doors, Montgomery County District Judge Garrett Page said Ginnetti had already been humiliated and punished enough and sentenced her to 30 days in prison and three years of probation.
She will also be required to register with Pennsylvania State Police as a sex offender.
A police investigation began after authorities received a tip that students at the high school were overheard talking about the relationship.
An investigation into phone records revealed the relationship began in 2013 when Ginnetti and the then-17 year old boy began communicating daily.
Records showed Ginnetti, who was married with children, sent the student sexually explicit text messages, photos and even videos.
The two later had sex in Ginnetti's car.
"I am sorry for my abuse of my position of authority," Ginnetti said while reading a statement before Judge Page.
She apologized to the student victim saying "I am an adult and I should've exercised better judgment for the both of us."
"(Ginnetti) needed to take responsibility and by going to jail it sends a message that there is responsibility in this case and the conduct was wrong," Sophia Polites, a Montgomery County assistant district attorney handling the prosecution said following Friday's sentencing.
"We as a society put great trust in our teachers and schools. She betrayed that trust," said Polites.
According to state records obtained by the I-Team, student/teacher sexual relationships are happening more often.
The I-Team reviewed thousands of records of teachers, coaches and school administrators who have lost their teaching certificates.
Over the past ten years, the number of educators accused or convicted of having sex with students has increased 81 percent. In 2014, one third of those teachers were women.
If you know of or suspect a student is being abused or having an inappropriate relationship with an educator, the following resources can help:
• Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct And Exploitation: http://www.sesamenet.org/
• Pennsylvania's ChildLine and Abuse Registry: http://www.dhs.state.pa.us/provider/childwelfareservices/childlineandabuseregistry/
• New Jersey: http://www.nj.gov/dcf/reporting/hotline/
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