FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin high school teacher has been sentenced to prison for having a sexual relationship with a student.
Shannon Cardinal, of Oakfield, was a Spanish teacher at Mayville High School when she was charged with sex assault of a student by school staff and child enticement through sexual contact for incidents in 2011 and 2012. Cardinal pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in a deal with prosecutors.
Fond du Lac County Judge Dale English went beyond the prosecution's sentencing recommendation and sent Cardinal, 44, to prison for two years. English told Cardinal during sentencing Wednesday that her breach of trust was significant.
"This isn't a probation case to me, it just isn't. I think the offense is so aggravating that probation I don't think is appropriate," he said.
The former teacher made a tearful apology.
"I know I made a mistake, I've never denied that fact, I've asked for forgiveness through God because that is the only way I could," she told the court.
Devra Ayala, Fond du Lac County Assistant District Attorney, recommended a year in jail.
"On cases like this, it is sometimes hard to find the right balance as to exactly what is appropriate. She didn't have a criminal record and she had what the court called good character, but the severity of the offense was so high I could have seen the court go either way," Ayala said.
Cardinal must also serve a year of extended supervision following her prison sentence and register as a sex offender.