A former Grand Forks teacher has been sentenced to nearly two years behind bars for sexually assaulting a student.

A former Grand Forks teacher has been sentenced to nearly two years behind bars for sexually assaulting a student.

Forty-two-year-old James Whalen pleaded guilty to sexual assault and corruption of a minor. Whalen was a teacher at Central High School when he assaulted the female student, who was 16 when the assaults began in the winter of 2015-2016.
In arguing for a lighter sentence, Whalen's attorney said the teen was a "precocious" girl who "facilitated" the sexual relationship. Prosecutor Haley Wamstad told the judge it was unacceptable that the defense placed blame on the victim. Wamstad said Whalen, as a teacher, was responsible for mentoring and protecting children.

KVRR-TV (http://bit.ly/2qaa8ro ) reports Whalen addressed the victim and her family in court and said the entire situation has been devastating for everyone.