Still, Andrew J. Delles, 29, of Jackson likely will see his name erased from the list of those allowed to teach in Missouri, and instead be placed on another list that will publicly label him a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Delles pleaded guilty to one count of sexual misconduct involving a minor to Judge Benjamin Lewis, who set a sentencing hearing for March 11. That's five fewer than he originally faced in March, but Scott County prosecutors dismissed those in exchange for his plea in a case heard in Cape Girardeau County on a change of venue.
Delles was placed on paid leave from his job at the Sikeston (Mo.) Junior High School in March after allegations surfaced of "inappropriate electronic communications" between Delles and a female student. Delles had taught communication arts for the Sikeston School District for five years when district officials reported their suspicions to police.
Delles' original six charges -- three alleging child enticement and three for misconduct involving a minor -- carried a maximum punishment of 102 years in prison. Next month, Lewis, if he doesn't reject the plea deal outright, could sentence Delles to a maximum of four years.
Prosecutors aren't asking for that much prison time. Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd's office is recommending Lewis suspend the execution of a four-year prison sentence in favor of five years of probation, according to Delles' lawyer, Curt Poore.
Poore said his client had no comment after what was supposed to be a pretrial conference with the jury trial just 15 days away.
"There weren't any allegations of touching or anything like that, just inappropriate emails," Poore said.
Police found two pictures of an adult male on the student's phone that they determined to be of Delles, according to court documents. Photos apparently also had been exchanged between the two, the documents said, although Delles told police at the time the student must have gotten the pictures of him from an adult website on which he had posted them.
Former Sikeston School District superintendent Steve Borgsmiller placed Delles on paid leave when the charges were filed pending the outcome of court proceedings. On Monday, Borgsmiller's replacement, Tom Williams, was not available to discuss the case or Delles' future as an educator.
Delles did not return phone calls left at his home, which also was true of calls left at prosecutor Paul Boyd's office.
The guilty plea looks to have put an end to Delles' teaching career. This sort of sentence, unlike some that accompany probation, would put the incident on Delles' permanent criminal record.
Under Missouri law, convictions for sexual offenses, including sexual misconduct involving a minor, set the wheels in motion for his teaching license to be revoked, said Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Sarah Potter.
The department runs periodic checks through the Missouri State Highway Patrol to spot new criminal charges filed against Missouri educators, Potter said. The department, in fact, is about to step up its efforts, she said, running such checks more frequently.
At present, Potter said, Delles certificate remains valid, though he is no longer listed as a teacher with the Sikeston district.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which maintains the state's sex offender registry, said that because Delles' actions involved a minor, he will be required to register on the list for the rest of his life.
100 Court St., Jackson, Mo.