A Texas teenager, whose former teacher is serving jail time for having a sexual relationship with him, opened up for the first time about their affair and said he had suicidal thoughts after her arrest because he felt guilty.
Jimmy Pallais, 17, told ABC News' "20/20" in an exclusive interview that after learning former Houston middle school teacher Kathryn Camille Murray, 30, was headed to jail because of their relationship, he fell into a depression and thought "that maybe if I [would] kill myself they [would forget] about this."
Pallais and his adoptive parents, Alex and Jenny Pallais, sat down with "20/20" to talk about how the illegal relationship started and how their secret was revealed. The Pallaises are still coping with the aftermath.
"I think it took his innocence away, because...that was his first time having sex," Alex Pallais said. "She robbed him of his childhood."
Murray, a former English support teacher at Memorial Middle School in Houston, Texas, was sentenced this week to a felony deferred adjudication and will serve one year in Harris County jail. She pleaded guilty to one count of improper relationship between educator and student and one count of sexual assault of a child for her relationship with the former student. Murray also is required to surrender her teaching certificate and register as a sex offender for the rest of her life. She is not allowed to have any contact with Jimmy until she completes her probation.
Murray and Jimmy Pallais' relationship began after Jimmy came to live in the United States. Alex and Jenny Pallais adopted Jimmy from distant relatives and brought him from a life of poverty in Costa Rica to Houston when he was 14 years old.
Jimmy Pallais began attending Memorial Middle School, where Murray, then 28, was assigned to give him extra help with his classes. The young student didn't know much English at the time and found comfort in her classroom.
"She was nice. She [started] helping me a lot with my homework," Jimmy Pallais said of Murray. "I [started] liking the feeling that... I [had] for her."
Jimmy Pallais' parents were aware of his feelings toward Murray, and recalled their son commenting on how pretty he thought she was.
"Every kid goes through that, has a crush on a teacher," Alex Pallais told "20/20." "This is an adolescent son with just a simple crush. That's it. We thought nothing of it."
Before Christmas break, Jimmy Pallais said he wrote a note revealing his love for Murray, but he tore it up and gave it to her to throw away. But after break, Jimmy said she said something surprising.
"She said, 'I read your letter,'" Jimmy Pallais said. "She told me, 'I really like you, like, for real.' I said, 'I really like you.' And she...told me, 'I know, but we can't have anything.'"
A Forbidden Relationship Blossoms
Eventually, Jimmy Pallais' parents started to become suspicious and said they emailed Murray and told her their son needed to be taken out of her class because of his crush on her. The Pallaises said they also called the principal to make sure the school was aware of the situation, and the principal said she would move him out of the class.
But Murray and Jimmy Pallais continued to talk on Facebook and he said things then became physical.