The lawyer for the California middle-school teacher who shocked the country with her unsolicited confession of a months-long sexual affair with a 14-year-old former student -- and who later declined to be bailed from jail -- said the woman "couldn't live" with her actions and wanted the story to come out.
Amy Beck may have cleared her conscience, but she now faces a 2-year sentence in state prison after pleading no contest to charges against her on Thursday. Beck's lawyer, Michael Williamson, told "Good Morning America" today she would likely serve a year with good behavior.
"Amy's a very compassionate individual. She became really guilt-ridden and remorseful," Williamson said. "She couldn't live with what she had done and had to bring it to light."
The Burbank, Calif., teacher stunned police and school officials when she showed up at the police station and told them she'd repeatedly had sex with a now-15-year-old boy.
"Obviously we were surprised," Burbank Police Sgt. Robert Quesada said. Without Beck's confession, "we would have never known about this."
"It seemed she was just feeling guilty and was overwhelmed with this guilt and had to get it off her chest," Quesada said.
Detectives confirmed her story with the student and arrested Beck, the wife of a police officer and mother of three, on multiple charges of having sex with a minor.
On Thursday, the 33-year-old pleaded no contest to one count each of unlawful sex with a minor and performing lewd acts on a minor.
She could have been sentenced to as many as seven years in prison if she had been convicted.
Beck, who was a popular English and social studies teacher at the David Starr Jordan Middle School, confessed to police with Williamson by her side.
"Amy was a very good teacher, very close with her students," Williamson told "GMA." "At some point she crossed the line with this one particular young man. There's no indication it happened with anyone else."
The affair allegedly started in March 2009 when the boy was 14 and continued through September. School officials told ABC's Los Angeles affiliate KABC that Beck had recently announced her resignation, but they had no idea that an affair with a student could have been behind it.
"She resigned last week, and quite frankly we didn't have any knowledge or understanding as to why that happened," Burbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Gabe Soumakian told KABC. "She was going to move out of town, but we didn't know what other issues that were being brought forward."
After her arrest, Beck declined to post $175,000 bail, choosing to stay in jail instead. She did so, Williamson said, partly because of remorse and partly to avoid the news media. Also, the time she's serving counts towards her eventual sentencing, Williamson said.
Williamson said Beck's family is avoiding the media and "doing well." Beck's marriage is still intact and her husband is "standing by his wife," Williamson said.
List of Teacher-Student Affairs Grows
Police have no reason at this point to believe Beck had inappropriate relationships with other students. The student named in the affair is now in high school.
Beck joins a long and growing list of teachers who have been busted for having sex with their students.
The most infamous of them, Mary Kay Letourneau, served several years in prison and went on to marry her former student Vili Fualaau, the father of the two children she bore when Fualaau was a young teenager. Fualaau was just 12 when the affair started.
But police say it's unusual for anyone to just walk into the station and turn themselves in for a crime that wasn't on anyone's radar.
"It's not every day that somebody just comes in and confesses," Quesada said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.