A high-school teacher who was jailed for performing sex acts on her underage pupils has blamed her strict religious upbringing for her crimes.
Linda Hardan, from Prospect Park in New Jersey, was jailed to three years in prison yesterday after sending scores of sexually explicit text messages to pupils, aged 14 to 16 years-old in 2014, and then engaging in sex acts with them.
Her defense lawyer, Alissa Hascup, said the Muslim woman was driven in part to commit the offenses due to her strict religious upbringing, and suggested that she be treated by a therapist as oppose to serving time in prison.
Hardan, 22, had pleaded guilty in a deal with the Prosecutor's Office that had called for a five-year prison sentence.
However Passaic County Superior Court Judge Miguel de la Carrera found enough mitigating factors to depart from the plea deal and impose a three-year sentence on the substitute teacher acknowledging the impact of her formative years on her mental development.