Teacher accused of sex with 12-year-old student pleads guilty

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The physical education teacher accused of having sex with an eighth-grade student pleaded guilty Monday to attempted child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Nicole Renee Wooten will be sentenced by Judge Sherry Stephens, the judge who is handling the Jodi Arias trial. That hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.

Wooten, 36 at the time, was booked into jail on three counts of sexual conduct with a minor late last February.

Wooten was a PE teacher at Herrera School for the Fine Arts and Dual Language in Phoenix.

The victim notified police on Nov. 1, 2012.

According to court documents, during the school year from August 2005 to May 2006, the victim, who was then 12 years old, alleged Wooten engaged her in a sexual relationship while in Tempe.

On Wednesday, police said they learned the correct location where the alleged sex acts occurred was in Mesa. The student alleged Wooten touched her inappropriately three separate times at the teacher's apartment.

"These are very serious crimes, they are something that's looked at as very serious," Lt. Michael Pooley with Tempe police said. "It's a very tragic thing for educators and we want to get these people away from children."

The victim, now 19, confronted Wooten about the alleged incidents and Tempe police officers arrested Wooten later that day. Police said Wooten admitted to the sexual encounters.

The district said they sent a letter home to parents the day after Wooten's arrest, saying the acts took place at Wooten's home, not the school. Wooten was placed on unpaid leave.