A Christian high school teacher caught having sex with a 14-year-old student plans to plead guilty this week and could face up to 20 years in prison. But his attorneys are asking for leniency, claiming their client is just a hopeless romantic.
Eric Beasley, 25, was a biology teacher at Zion Lutheran Christian School in Deerfield Beach back in April when he was caught by a Lighthouse Point police officer having sex with the underaged girl in the back of his 2008 Dodge behind a strip mall. Although Beasley and the girl claimed to be consenting adults who met online, the hawk-eyed cop continued to question the girl, who admitted that she was only 14 and that Beasley was teaching more than just creationism.
A police investigation found that Beasley was really into photography, exchanging naked pics with the young girl and sending her videos of himself masturbating. And school hours weren't off-limits either, as the shaggy-haired, Bible-based educator admitted to engaging in proclivities on the grounds of the school, which offers "a community of faith, rooted in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," according to its website.
Beasley was originally slapped with nine charges of sexual battery by a custodian on a minor and two counts of sending obscene material to a minor. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of persuading or enticing the girl to have sex with him, and later this week he plans to plead guilty to state charges of sexual battery on the same underaged girl, reports the Sun Sentinel.
Like the emo Christian rock guitarist Beasley resembles in his booking photos, his lawyers say he is a victim of his own foolish heart. They say that he has genuine feelings for the 14-year-old victim and that he took the plea deal to prevent any further damage to her.
"He still cares about this girl... He wants to minimize the trauma to her," attorney Michael Gelety tells the Sentinel.
A doctor even went so far as describing Beasley as a "wandering romantic."
Despite the hard-luck heart defense, prosecutors are asking for Beasley to serve two decades in prison. U.S. Judge William Zloch will decide that fate after the next court date later this week.
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