VALPARAISO — A 25-year-old Gary woman was sentenced Monday to probation after pleading guilty to a felony count of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Malary Jones struck a deal with prosecutors to serve five years in prison, with all but time served suspended and served on formal probation.
She also will be required to register as a sex offender, undergo HIV testing, pay $4,453 in restitution and avoid further contact with the girl while on probation, according to the agreement.
Prosecutors dropped a second felony count of child molesting.
Police said Jones began sexually abusing one of her martial arts students beginning when the girl was 13 and Jones was 22.
But the defense claimed in court Monday that Jones and the girl were fellow students.
The victim and her family opted not to appear for sentencing out of consideration for her emotional well-being, according to Porter County Deputy Prosecutor David Urbanski.
The allegations came to light in April 2018 when the girl confided in a school counselor, police said. Jones was a karate/taekwondo instructor at a studio in Portage and the girl was a student when the reported molestation began in July 2016, police said.
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"(The girl) advised that she did not want to have sex with Jones, but did not want to be rude," according to charging documents. "(The girl) advised that she would make excuses not to have sex with Jones, however, Jones would become angry when she did."
The girl reportedly told police she saw Jones kissing a 14-year-old and then Jones told her she liked the girl a week later. The molestation took place over the next year and three months, police said.
The girl reportedly told police she and Jones had exchanged nude photographs and she had a video of the two in bed.
"(The girl) advised that since breaking up with Jones, the thought of her in a relationship with Jones started to really 'bug' her," according to the charging documents.
Police said Jones admitted to sexual incidents with the girl about 13 times over a period of a year, including at least twice when the girl was 13.