A former Union Elementary School teacher was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday morning after pleading guilty to sexual battery of a child under the age of 18 while in a position of trust.

The former kindergarten teacher, Emily Suzanne Hansford, 43, of 10670 Road 505, pleaded guilty in Neshoba County Circuit Court.

When asked by Judge Vernon Cotten if she was pleading guilty because she was guilty, Hansford replied: "Yes, sir."

The victim's father, who was in the courtroom for the sentencing, said he was satisfied when asked by Judge Cotten about the eight-year sentence recommended by the District Attorney's office as part of a plea bargain.

Judge Cotten told the father that the damage to his son could not be undone.

"We suggest the family get proper counseling and therapy for your son to be sure he can weather this properly and view sexuality in the confines of marriage like it ought to be," he said.

In announcing his sentence, Judge Cotten told Hansford, the mother of two children, that he would accept the state's recommendation. She was also ordered to enroll in a long-term treatment and therapy program while incarcerated. She was also required to register as a sex offender.

"You are at a low point in your life and also the victim and his family," Cotten said. "This scar can never be taken off. I hope you serve your sentence and be a model inmate, have counseling and act on it and come back and be a good citizen for your family and community."

Hansford was arrested in February after Neshoba County Sheriff's Investigator Ralph Sciple signed the affidavit against her following an investigation in which he spoke with the victim and his father along with witnesses he did not identify. He also obtained evidence from the school district as part of the investigation.

Union Superintendent of Education Michael McInnis said in February that the school district contacted the authorities following an internal investigation involving Hansford and the student.

According to the indictment, the alleged sexual battery occurred on or about January/February 2012 in Neshoba County.