Woman, 49, gets 5 years in statutory rape case

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | 7:01 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A woman who had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

Melody R. Link, 49, pleaded guilty in March to a charge of second-degree statutory rape, a class C felony.

Link was arrested in January 2009 following an investigation into her relationship with the teen, according to an earlier Missourian report. During an interview with the Missouri Crimes Unit, the teen admitted he had been sexually involved with Link since August 2008. But Link's attorney, Kay Evans, said during Tuesday's hearing in the 13th Circuit of Boone County that Link's relationship with the teen occurred when he was an adult.

Evans said that Link was "not in her right mind" at the time of the sexual relationship as she was coping with the discovery of an affair her husband was having with a co-worker. Link has been diagnosed with and treated for depression, Evans said, and also suffered a stress-related heart attack since her arrest.

Noting that Link felt remorseful for her conduct and had suffered greatly, Evans asked that her client be given probation and be allowed to continue treatment with the Missouri Sex Offender Program, which she had already begun.

Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Scholz submitted four victim impact statements to Circuit Judge Jodie Asel because the family of the victim was unable to attend. The letters were not read aloud.

Asel rejected the defense's request of probation and sentenced Link to five years in prison. She was also recommended for sex offender treatment.

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