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Hillsborough teacher, victim testify in molestation trial

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Anderson in court Anderson in court
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A former Hillsborough County elementary school teacher accused of sexually molesting a former student is on trial.  The case could go to the jury Wednesday.

Ethel Anderson, 29, is charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious molestation in the case. She is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old student.

The victim took the stand Tuesday to testify about his relationship with Anderson.  His testimony was detailed and graphic, as Anderson sat in the courtroom looking straight ahead.

The victim testified on his 14th birthday about the relationship they shared for three months.   He was just 12 years-old at the time.

The victim says Anderson was his teacher in first, fourth and fifth grade at Mango Elementary, but he says their relationship turned sexual when his mother arranged for Anderson to tutor him in her home.

The victim told jurors, "I went over to her house one Saturday and she was trying to tutor me, but I wouldn't listen and I was sitting on the couch watching TV and she came over and sat down next to me and, like before we got into anything too sexual, she would rub on my legs and kiss on my ears, stuff like that."

In court, prosecutors had the victim read from numerous text messages he exchanged with Anderson. In the text messages, the teacher told the student that she loved him and referred to the victim as her boyfriend, even though she was married at the time.

Eventually the victim says he told his mother about the relationship, because he knew it was wrong.

The victim says, "I just couldn't handle it, having to lie every day to my mom, hide my phone so if I got a text message, my mom wouldn't read it."

Jurors also heard from Ethel Anderson on the stand.  The former teacher maintains that she allowed a fantasy relationship to develop with the student to get his attention to "make him a better student."  Anderson said he claimed he was suicidal and the fantasy made him feel better about himself.

"I knew that the conversations that were having weren't appropriate," said Anderson.

Anderson says she never allowed the fantasy to become reality and never engaged in sexual activity with the student.

Closing arguments will start at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Follow @WFLA on Twitter for updates from the courtroom.

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