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Last updated: February 17. 2013 5:43PM - 119 Views

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SCRANTON ?? A former Dunmore teacher who was accused of having a sexual relationship with his then-17-year-old student pleaded no contest to one count of corruption of minors before Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo Wednesday afternoon.
Andrew Wally, 27, of Dunmore, entered the plea related to charges filed in January. The plea carries a maximum sentence of a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
The plea, Geroulo explained to Wally, is essentially an acknowledgement that if the case went to trial that there was sufficient evidence to find him guilty and carries the same effect as a guilty plea.
Wally has permanently surrendered his teaching license and resigned from his position as a science teacher and golf coach in February.
He was initially charged with 10 counts of corruption of minors and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors. He originally told police that ??he and the victim connected in a way that he had never connected with another person before,? according to the original criminal complaint.
His attorney, Chris Powell, asked that Geroulo lift a bail condition that restricts Wally from speaking to his alleged victim, now 18, who was in attendance for Wednesday??s hearing.
Geroulo deferred in order to review all documents in the case, and a decision is expected in the next five days. Wally is scheduled to be sentenced within 90 days.
Outside the Lackawanna County Courthouse, Powell said, ??Mr. Wally is very relieved that this is over. He is saddened by the events. He gave up his teaching license, and he will wait until he??s sentenced.?
Powell called the connection between Wally and the former Dunmore High School student a ??Romeo and Juliet? story.
??It??s very unusual to have a victim stand up for a defendant. That??s going to play out during sentencing, I believe,? he said.
??They are in love, and there??s no doubt about it.?
The victim, who wished not to be identified, has since moved from the high school to a home school environment.
??I know in his role as a teacher why people are so angry about the whole situation,? she said. ??He gave me confidence in myself that I never thought I??d have. He cares for me in a way that I never felt from anyone else in my life before.?
The pair hasn??t spoken since January when Wally was taken into custody by Dunmore police.
??The fact that they??re not letting us speak right now is very hard for me to deal with,? she said. ??I hope soon that I??ll be able to contact him. He was like my best friend.
??I know what parents are thinking right now. They don??t care what kind of story this was,? she continued. ??They think, no matter what, it??s wrong. I can??t change their opinions.?
She said the relationship was consensual and that Wally sacrificed his livelihood to pursue it.
??The guy was willing to just give up his career for somebody,? she said. ??In my eyes, I feel like that shows a good person.?
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