PLEASANTON -- A former Livermore high school teacher accused of molesting a 14-year-old student will be evaluated to see how long she should stay behind bars for her crime.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered a diagnostic test for Marie Johnson, 42, who pleaded no contest to nine felony counts on April 16 for sexually assaulting the boy from December 2010 to May 2011.

Johnson, who taught math at Granada High School, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley sent her to Chowchilla State Prison for 90 days to determine whether it would be appropriate for her to remain in prison or to be placed on probation.

Under state law, the court can suspend proceedings and commit an individual to state prison for the study. At the end of the 90 days, the prison will file three reports with the sentencing court offering opinions on whether Johnson should be granted probation or sentenced to prison. The opinions come from the warden, a psychologist and a prison staff member.

Johnson is slated to return to the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice on Aug. 13, when Hurley will determine her sentence.

Her crimes netted a maximum prison sentence of nine years and eight months.

Johnson, who initially pleaded not guilty, was arrested at the high school on Jan. 11, 2012, after the boy told authorities he was being molested.


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When police interviewed Johnson after she was arrested, she admitted to having sex with the student, according to a probable cause statement. She was placed on administrative leave and resigned earlier this year during her dismissal process, school officials said.

Authorities say her relationship with the boy began with text messages, Facebook postings and instant messaging over the "Words with Friends" smartphone game, then graduated to sex in the teacher's car and other locations.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.