ALBANY — A former teacher at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School who used her position to groom and sexually exploit a student was sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges last year, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.
Kristin Blair Hiltunen, 37, of Amsterdam, admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with a victim under the age of 16 between April 2021 and August 2021. During that period, she exchanged thousands of messages of the victim via social media in which she “persuaded, induced, and enticed the victim to take sexually explicit images” and send them to her, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman.
In addition, Hiltunen also admitted to engaging in livestreamed video chats with the victim during which “they engaged in sexual acts,” according to the release.
U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby also imposed a 20-year term of post-release supervision. Hiltutnen also will be required to register as a sex offender.
Hiltunen was employed as a teacher at Bishop Gibbons from October2017 until her arrest in October 2021, when she was put on paid leave and ultimately terminated.
The investigation into Hiltunen’s actions began in August 2021 after the Schenectady Police Department became aware of sexually explicit images while investigating a separate matter.
A forensic examination of Hiltunen’s phone uncovered more than 20,000 messages and video chats, including those containing sexual images. The case was ultimately turned over to the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.
Hiltunen’s case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Rachel Williams as part of Project Safe Childhood, which uses a combination of federal, state and local resources to track down and prosecute individuals who exploit children online.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.