Ex-Mayor, Washington Mom Awaits End of Child Molestation Sentence

PHOTO: Kevin and Linda Lusk were high school sweethearts who reconnected and married 15 years later. Kevin Lusk said he stands by his wife, despite the small town sex scandal linking her and a teenage boy.PlayCourtesy of Lusk Family
WATCH Mom, Ex-Mayor, Registers as Sex Offender

After a year spent avoiding her children's sleepovers, Linda Lusk is anxious to get back to her old life. Lusk, a mother of five and a former small-town mayor, is serving probation on a charge of third-degree child molestation. The probation is due to end Aug. 9.

In 2010, Lusk was accused of having sexual contact with her teenage daughter's ex-boyfriend, Bubba Frank, who told friends that Lusk performed oral sex on him. Lusk denied the oral sex allegation, but did admit to police that at one point her hand had grazed his penis during a visit to her house.

Lusk later submitted an Alford plea -- a plea in which a defendant maintains she did not commit a crime but admits prosecutors have enough information to convict her -- and with that, the former mayor became a registered sex offender.

Watch the full story on "20/20" now.

For the past year, Lusk has been unable to share in the joy of her children's extracurricular activities and even their birthday parties due to probation limitations. When her children have sleepovers, Lusk has to spend the night in the basement of the handbag boutique she owns in downtown Prosser, Wash., to avoid being close to children under the age of 16.

Lusk tells "20/20" that she "never leaves her home or her work," afraid of small-town rumors leading to probation violation accusations. A visit to a local restaurant with her 15-year-old son, Riley, for instance, was enough to prompt whispers that Lusk has a new teenage boyfriend.

PHOTOS: Linda Lusk and her family

With the start of the school year only weeks away, she's excited to be able to attend her daughter's swim meets, her son's basketball games, and be an active participant in her children's lives again.

Lusk served as the mayor of the small Washington town from 2003 to 2007. She was married to the local high school principal Kevin Lusk. The two were former high school sweethearts who reconnected years later, blended their families -- both had children from previous marriages -- and went on to have two more children.

Living only one block from Prosser High School, the Lusk home was a popular hangout for the neighborhood teens.

In 2009, tragedy struck the family when Linda Lusk's son Taylor died. Taylor suffered from the rare genetic disorder Trisomy 13. When he was born, doctors told Lusk he was "incompatible with life" and wouldn't live past a week.

He defied all odds and lived until he was 15 years old.

Friends and family said Linda Lusk, suffering from unimaginable grief, became deeply depressed yet did not seek any professional help.

Searching for ways to fill the void of Taylor's life, Lusk said she felt the need to care for other children who frequented her home. One such boy was Bubba Frank.

A friend and former boyfriend of her daughter Karlie, Bubba spent a lot of time at the Lusk's home. Because of a strained relationship with his family, Lusk claimed, he seemed in need of nurturing.

Bubba and Linda started to exchange text messages that they both admit became inappropriate.

On a spring afternoon in 2010, Bubba, after a dare from friends, visited Linda's home with hopes of taking their relationship to a very different level.

What happened next would change both of their lives forever.

They tell conflicting stories of events that afternoon. Bubba told "20/20" that Linda Lusk guided him into Karlie's bedroom and "just had oral sex and that's basically all."

Lusk tells a different story, claiming that Bubba pulled down his pants.

"I just froze," she told 20/20. "I don't even know -- I didn't look down -- that I even touched him. But I probably did."

Rumors of the incident began echoing around the small town of Prosser.

Eventually word would reach Lusk's daughter Karlie, who was, like Bubba, a student at Prosser High School where her father serves as principal.

In June of 2010, prosecutors charged Lusk with third-degree child molestation, a felony.

She continued to deny Bubba's oral sex allegation and took a polygraph test to support her defense. A polygraph examiner found no evidence of deception.

A psychological report provided to "20/20" determined Lusk was not a predator but, rather she "crossed over appropriate boundaries in this specific relationship."

On May 20, 2011, Linda Lusk pleaded guilty with an Alford plea, maintaining she did not commit a crime but admitting prosecutors had enough information to convict her.

Lusk was sentenced to 90 days in jail, was registered as a sex offender for 10 years, and was placed on probation for one year.

Bubba's mother Heidi Frank has said she will never be happy with the punishment Linda received. Her son, she said, faces a lifelong stigma for his involvement with Lusk and that, she argues, should justify a harsher sentence.

Linda Lusk's probation prohibited her from being able to leave the county without prior consent, be in the presence of children (other than her own) under the age of 16 without a chaperone and prior consent, along with 29 other limitations.

Linda was rearrested for violating parole only months after she completed her jail sentence. The new arrest, which forced Lusk to spend 11 more days in county jail, came after she attended her daughter's swim meet in the neighboring county without acquiring the proper consent from authorities.

Lusk's mistake had a ripple effect when her husband was placed on administrative leave from his job as principal so the school district could investigate his role in his wife's probation violation.

The Prosser School District ultimately found no fault and Kevin is back on the job.

Linda's probation will be lifted August 9 and she tells "20/20" that they are "trying to move forward as a family." Time served and her probation period satisfies Lusk's debt to society, but the social stigma that comes along with a sex offender status will remain for another nine years. As a level one sex offender, Lusk will be required to notify the registry office if she moves, but will no longer have any other restrictions placed upon her.

The Lusk family, despite the forever grinding rumor mill and frequent curiosity as to why they haven't left town, have decided to stay in Prosser until their children graduate high school.

Karlie, Kevin and Linda Lusk are all attending weekly counseling sessions to deal with the grief of Taylor's death they've buried so deep.

Watch the full story on "20/20" now.