A former Stafford County teacher who admitted having sex with four high school students pleaded guilty to four charges Friday.
Erica Lynne Mesa, 28, who taught math at Colonial Forge High School, pleaded guilty to two counts of electronic solicitation of a minor and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
In exchange for Mesa’s guilty pleas, prosecutor Andrea Stewart dropped four charges and reduced two others.
Mesa will be facing a maximum penalty of 22 years in prison when she is sentenced May 21 in Stafford Circuit Court. She has been in jail since her arrest on Sept. 29.
According to Stewart, the Sheriff’s Office began hearing rumors last year about a Colonial Forge teacher who was having sex with students.
The school eventually received an anonymous tip about Mesa’s activities and confronted her about it. Mesa later gave a full confession to Stafford Detective Sgt. Chris Cameron, Stewart said.
The charges Mesa was convicted of involved only two of the students, but she admitted to sex with two others, according to the evidence. Only one of the students was under 18 at the time of the sex acts.
Mesa told police that she first had sex with one of the students on his 18th birthday in the commuter lot on Courthouse Road. Mesa also said she had sex with the teens at her home when her husband was away.
She relayed once incident in which she had sex with one teen while the other was in her basement waiting his turn. Stewart said Mesa told Cameron that she did it because it made her feel “attractive and wanted.”
Defense attorney Mark Gardner said that while what Mesa did was wrong, she has suffered enough. He asked Judge Victoria Willis to release Mesa on bond until her sentencing.
Gardner said the recommended state sentencing guidelines call for an active sentence of between three and six months, and Mesa has already served six months. He pointed out that Mesa had no prior record and has already lost her career and her marriage.
“She is not a pedophile,” Gardner said. “She was not preying on people who had no interest in participating.”
Mesa’s mother was in court hoping to take her to her native Michigan so she could continue work on a master’s degree.
But Judge Willis denied the request, saying Mesa will have to stay here and “clean up the mess you have made.”
Mesa’s guilty pleas means she will have to register as a sex offender.