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URBANA — A former teaching assistant at Circle Academy in Urbana has pleaded guilty to having sex with a student there.

Allyssa Gustafson, 24, will be sentenced Oct. 30 by Judge Roger Webber, who on Monday accepted her guilty plea to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

In return, a more serious count of criminal sexual assault was dismissed by Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink.

Although probation is an option, Alferink said she will seek a prison term.

Gustafson’s attorney, Mark Lipton of Champaign, is expected to seek a community-based sentence.

Gustafson was charged in November 2019 with engaging in multiple sex acts with the 14-year-old between March 1 and Aug. 30. Alferink said at the time, he was a student at the school, which serves children who have behavioral and emotional challenges.

Alferink said Champaign police found Gustafson had sent photographs to the student of herself in a bathing suit and lingerie.

They also communicated via social media.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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