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Tyler J. Edge, right, watches as his attorney Jonas Bednarek writes during a plea and sentencing hearing on at the Rock County Courthouse in Janesville on Thursday.

JANESVILLE

A former substitute teacher at Beloit Memorial High School has lost his teaching license, but he could avoid prison after pleading guilty Thursday to charges related to sexual assault of a student.

Tyler J. Edge, 26, of 1993 Colony Court, Apt. 8, Beloit, pleaded guilty to repeated sexual assault of a child and causing mental harm to a child.

As part of a plea agreement, a charge of second-degree sexual assault was dropped, and the new charge, causing mental harm, was added.

Judge Barbara McCrory followed the plea agreement and placed Edge on probation for four years, the first 90 days to be spent in the Rock County Jail with work-release privileges.

If Edge can complete probation successfully, the charge of repeated sexual assault would be dismissed. The second charge will remain on his record.

If Edge fails, he faces sentencing on the sexual assault charge, which carries a maximum 40 years in prison.

Edge also must complete 480 hours of community service and commit to any therapy the Department of Corrections requires.

Deputy District Attorney Perry Folts and defense attorney Jonas Bednarek said a therapist has found Edge is a low risk to reoffend. They said he admitted his guilt from the beginning.

McCrory also noted Edge had no other crimes on his record. Hee had gotten a job with Grainger Industries and told his employer about his situation. The employer is supporting him, as were family members in the courtroom Thursday.

“I can’t even imagine what he has gone through,” Edge said of the victim, “and what I put my family through and my friends through.”

Edge seemed on the verge of tears at times during the hearing. He said he was grateful for his family’s help in paying for therapy he has been undergoing, and he noted many others don’t have the resources to afford such care.

The offenses came to light in February 2018, when a 15-year-old Beloit Memorial High School student accused Edge of having sexual contact with him more than 20 times in a classroom or Edge’s office in 2017.

The criminal complaint shows Edge initiating the contact, first taking advantage of the boy when he gave the boy a ride home from a school event.

Edge had been a substitute teacher in Beloit but was teaching in Chippewa Falls when he was charged in 2018.

Folts said the victim had not expressed any objection to the plea agreement.

“Nobody wanted to see Mr. Edge’s life ruined permanently by the behavior, but he needs to understand that he can’t engage in this type of behavior and that he has caused permanent harm to this young man,” Folts said.

Bednarek called Edge’s actions reprehensible and awful, but he said his client is “incredibly remorseful.”

Edge’s therapist indicated he had never seen anyone progress so quickly and effectively through sex-offender therapy as Edge, Bednarek said.

McCrory said the victim was too young to be ready for a sexual relationship, and Edge should have known that because of his education.

McCrory noted the loss of Edge’s teaching license and suggested he had great passion for his chosen career.

“I did, your honor,” he responded.

McCrory ordered Edge to report to jail Wednesday, Sept. 18.

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Tyler J. Edge appears for a plea and sentencing hearing at the Rock County Courthouse in Janesville on Thursday.