A once-married father who caused an international search when he ran off to Mexico with a teenage girl from Allentown is headed to prison.
But Kevin Esterly will not have to register as a sex offender after felony charges against him were dropped.
Esterly, 46, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of corrupting a minor. He was sentenced to 2-1/2 to 5 years in prison.
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In court, Esterly claimed he wanted to protect Yu from a difficult home situation. Yu told the court the two did not have a sexual relationship.
Yu had been close to Esterly's family and friends with his daughter. But Yu's mother grew suspicious of the relationship and then realized Esterly had checked Yu out of school 10 times by posing as her stepfather. Yu's mother reached out to police.
Yu had planned to go to Mexico; on March 5, Esterly joined her with a ticket that Yu purchased, according to Yu's lawyer.
The disappearance sparked an international search. The two were found two weeks later in Playa del Carmen in March.
Yu issued a statement after the sentencing saying she accepted that the sentence was "lawful." But, the statement added, "a sentence of such long length implies an inappropriate physical relationship between Kevin and Amy for which there is no evidence."
In court, Judge Maria L. Dantos told Esterly he had ruined two families.
Esterly's wife has filed for divorce; Yu is living in a home for at-risk teens.