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ARNOLD — A former Fox Elementary School nurse has admitted to having a sexual relationship with a student younger than 16 between 2015 and 2017 and trying to pay off his car loan in exchange for his silence.

Tina Maria Sumner

Tina Maria Sumner, a former nurse at Fox Elementary School, was charged with having a sexual relationship with a student in 2017. She pleaded guilty in August 2019.

Tina Maria Sumner, 47, of the 3600 block of Whitetail Lane near De Soto, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of statutory rape and one count of victim tampering.

Her plea deal with prosecutors includes a seven-year prison term that instead places her into a 120-day in-custody sex offender assessment program. After she completes the program and is evaluated by the Missouri Department of Corrections, a judge will decide whether to keep her in prison or release her. Sumner also will serve five years of probation for her guilty plea to victim tampering.

Sumner will have to register as a sex offender and continue a treatment program, defense lawyer Mark Hammer said.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 25 before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Darrell Missey.

Court records say the teen on Aug. 30, 2017, reported to authorities that he had sex with Sumner at his home, at her home and at a Fox School District building eight times since 2015.

Sumner refused to give police a statement when she was arrested in 2017, and she was released without being charged, court records said. She was told not to contact the boy or his family.

But the boy’s mother called an Arnold detective three months later for an update on the investigation and to report that Sumner had sent her son a $2,000 check to pay off a loan on his vehicle if he would drop the case.

The teen’s mother provided police with a copy of the check, charges said. Police also said cellphone records revealed calls between Sumner and the boy between June and November of 2017.

Sumner had been employed by the district for 16 years, according to 2017 payroll records. Her salary in 2017 was $44,604. She was named the 2005 school nurse of the year by the Jefferson County Association of School Nurses.

In 2013, she was quoted as part of a news story that aired on KTVI-TV (Channel 2) /KPLR-TV (Channel 11), praising a student who helped another student who was choking on a bite of chicken.

Joel Currier is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter here: @joelcurrier.