Merced, CA – A 40-year-old woman convicted of having sex with a teenaged boy and plying him with alcohol and marijuana will serve no time in prison for her offense.
Mia Novena Mercado, 40, pleaded no contest in January to charges of furnishing marijuana to a minor and having sex with a minor, according to the Merced Sun-Star.
Additional charges of violating a court protective order and committing a lewd act upon a minor were dismissed as part of Mercado’s plea agreement with the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.
She faced up to four years in prison, but was sentenced to just two years of probation, The Fresno Bee reported.
According to court documents, Mercado met the boy in 2019 after she responded to one of his Instagram posts.
They met up in person and the teen ultimately ran away from home and went to stay with the 40-year-old woman, according to The Fresno Bee.
Prosecutors said Mercado plied the victim with marijuana and alcohol and that she sexually assaulted him while he was high and drunk.
The boy’s mother reached out to his friends while he was missing and learned he had spoken to them about having a sexual relationship with an older woman, The Fresno Bee reported.
She later confronted her son about his relationship with the suspect and located inappropriate messages between them on his phone.
She immediately notified police.
Investigators said Mercado continued to contact the victim after she was arrested and even threatened to “expose him online,” according to The Fresno Bee.
She landed herself in jail in April of 2019 and remained there until early January.
Defense attorney Curtis Sok told the court his client is a “good and moral” person who maintains her innocence, the Merced Sun-Star reported.
“She isn’t a sexual predator at all,” Sok told the paper. “She’s never been in trouble before this and has no record at all.”
Mercado, who will be required to register as a sex offender, is prohibited from accessing social media and all electronic devices other than a cell phone for the duration of her probation term, the Merced Sun-Star reported.
The court banned her from having contact with any minors other than her grandchildren, but said she will be allowed to attend her grandchildren’s school functions.