A one-time high school soccer teacher could have her statutory rape case tossed out of court if a Minnesota judge accepts that she was “so drunk” when she had intercourse with a 13-year-old boy.
In accordance to what is known as a Norgaard plea, former Champlin Park High School instructor Rebecca Noonan, 33, accepted a lesser charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct last week for the supposed 2014 incident, as reported by the Star Tribune.
According to the decree, Noonan alleges that due to being extremely intoxicated, she couldn’t recall if she had sex with her underage lover inside of his Ramsey home in August or September of that year.
“I was so drunk or so under the influence of drugs or medicine,” the signed document states, “that I did not know what I was doing at the time of the crime.”
Because of the plea deal, Ms. Noonan could avoid being sent to prison, with all charges being ultimately dismissed once she completes all the requirements ordered by Anoka County District Court officials.
A Norgaard plea, as explained by the Star Tribute post, allows for defendants to state that either inebriation through drugs or alcohol, as well as amnesia, prevented them from “recalling what they are alleged to have done.”
“Her plea deal also allows for what is called a ‘stay of adjudication,'” the report adds, “meaning that Noonan’s case will be dismissed if she meets all requirements demanded of her after sentencing.”
Kirk Anderson, a member of Rebecca Noonan’s counsel team, relayed during earlier court proceedings that his client knew the teenager through his mother, whom she had been friends with for some time. During a visit to the acquaintance’s home last August or September, Ms. Noonan and the 13-year-old began drinking alcohol and at some point, they ended up in his bedroom where they proceeded to have sex.
Once they were done, she reportedly asked the child not to share word of what had just occurred with anyone as could she could go to prison over the matter. He adhered to her request temporarily before sharing the news with his siblings, who in turn, relayed the tale to their mother, who notified police. Ms. Noonan was subsequently arrested and primarily charged with third-and-fifth degree criminal sexual conduct for the incident.
The deal, signed off on by both Assistant County Attorney Blair Buccicone and Ms. Noonan’s lawyers, came to pass on Monday after both sides participated in “lengthy conversations and negotiations” about the case. Additionally, it is being said that the offer was made due to a substantial absence of evidence, which made it difficult to find her fully guilty of the supposed crime.
“There wasn’t a lot of proof,” Scott Lewis, another of Ms. Noonan’s attorneys, expressed, before adding that it wouldn’t have stopped his client from sharing her side of the story in court.
“She has always maintained her innocence,” Mr. Lewis continued.
“It’s essentially an acquittal without the risk of a trial.”
Along with her weekly soccer coach duties at Champlin Park High, Ms. Noonan also overlooked a summer camp where she trained other children on how to play the strenuous sport. The school district ultimately relinquished the accused of all duties in July 2015 by refusing to renew her contract. It is unknown whether or not the dismissal was in direct accordance with her arrest.
The counsel team for Rebecca Noonan expects the judge overlooking the case to accept the plea deal when they reconvene for sentencing in April of this year. Before that occurs, however, Ms. Noonan has been ordered by the court to undergo a “psycho-sexual evaluation.”
[Featured Image by Anoka County Jail]