Nebraska age of consent law comes into play in Hastings teacher case.

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HASTINGS, Neb. -- (KSNB) Nebraska's age of consent law means a former Hastings teacher will not be charged with a sex crime.

Tyler Hedlund, 23, Albion, pled guilty Friday to misdemeanor procuring alcohol for a minor and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a child.

The former Hastings St. Cecilia coach and teacher had been charged with felony child abuse.

He was arrested May 2, 2019, after an investigation into claims made by a student at the school.

The Hastings Police Department said at the time that the child abuse charge stemmed from reports that Hedlund provided or bought alcohol for a 16-year-old female student and her friends on at least three occasions.

In April, the school put Hedlund on administrative leave saying they had learned of an inappropriate relationship with a student. The Hastings Police Department said the school turned over its internal investigation into Hedlund on Thursday, April 18.

As part of the plea agreement for the lesser charges, Hedlund is also required to surrender his teaching certificate. A judge Friday ordered a pre-sentence investigation on Hedlund and set his sentencing date for August 6, 2019.

The max penalties for both convictions would add up to two years in jail and $2,000 in fines.

Court records also showed the 16-year-old girl said she had sex with Hedlund six or seven times dating back to December 2018. All but one of those incidents occurred in Hedlund's Hastings home, where he lived at the time.

Adams County Attorney Donna Fegler-Daiss told Local4 Monday that Hedlund will not be charged with a sex crime in spite of the evidence in the court records. Fegler-Daiss said Hedlund's sexual relationship with the 16-year-old female student did not constitute a crime under Nebraska law.

State law provides that 16 is the age of consent so long as the relationship is consensual. Nebraska state statute 28.319.01 refers to sexual assault of a child and states in part, "When he or she subjects another person who is at least twelve years of age but less than sixteen years of age to sexual penetration...." Fegler-Daiss said the female student involved in the case was 16 at the time of the incidents referenced in the court case.

According to the website, Nebraska is one of 30 states, including South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri, where the age of consent is 16. In all of the other states, including Wyoming, Colorado and Iowa, the age of consent is 17 or 18, according to the website.

Fegler-Daiss said there was a recent attempt in the legislature to make sexual relations between a student and teacher a crime, but that bill failed to pass.

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