Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

Teacher jailed for student kidnap

From correspondents in Las Vegas
21Sep02
Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

A CALIFORNIA teacher who kidnapped a 15-year-old student and had sex with him in a Las Vegas hotel yesterday pleaded guilty to a range of charges including seduction.

"Being a teacher is a sacred trust. How dare you?" Judge Joseph Bonaventure told Tanya Hadden, 33.

He sentenced Hadden to five to 12 years jail for second-degree kidnapping, sexual conduct between teacher and student and seduction.

But he suspended all but six months of the sentence meaning that, with time already served, she faces only 40 more days in jail.

Hadden still faces related charges in California and is likely to be extradited within weeks.

Hadden and Richard Pena disappeared from San Bernardino's Cajon High School on April 29.

They were found at a Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino four days later.

The former teacher broke into tears at yesterday's hearing as the boy's mother, Ida Pena, said Hadden ruined her son's life and that the family "went through hell" while he was missing.

"You violated him and you violated us," she said, glaring at Hadden.

Hadden's lawyer, Jordan Savage, said her client was lonely after a recent separation from her husband.

"I was acting like a 15-year-old girlfriend," Hadden told the judge. "I wasn't acting like an adult."

Hadden apologised to Pena's mother, saying: "I want peace to return to your family."

Hadden could have been sentenced to 26 years in prison but Judge Bonaventure told her: "You at least deserve a chance to rebuild your life." He ordered her to be placed on strict sex offender probation and lifetime supervision.

This report appears on news.com.au.