Former Prosser mayor: I did not have sex with teen

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PROSSER, Wash. -- Former Prosser Mayor Linda Lusk says she was grieving when she became too close to a teenage boy.

On "20/20" on Friday, Lusk said she was depressed when she became attached to her daughter's ex-boyfriend. She added she now sees she was unknowingly trying to fill the void left by the death of her developmentally-disabled son. The boy was just 15.

"My son died. Of course, I was sad, but I didn't realize how bad it was," she said. "My whole way of life was gone. I would get up in the morning and go into his room - just automatically - and just go, 'Oh, he's not there."'

Investigators said Lusk became close to a 14-year-old boy who'd been involved with her daughter. The teen, whose parents were separated, often came by the home, and they began talking, Lusk said.

Both the teen and Lusk told "20/20" it was the other party who took their relationship to a flirtatious level. Lusk said the teen made forward and sexual comments that shocked her at first, but eventually prompted her to send him a photo of herself wearing only a bra as he'd asked.

"I think I didn't want to hurt him, which seems a little ridiculous," she told "20/20."

The boy later told his parents he and Lusk exchanged text messages for a period of time. Then one day in April 2010, he went to her home during the lunch hour and she performed oral sex on him, he told his parents.

But Lusk said that's not exactly how it happened. She said the teen knocked on her door, nervous and shaking. She put her hand on his shoulder and asked what was the matter.

"And then I kind of gave him a hug, thinking he just needed a hug," she said on "20/20." "And then he took his pants down."

"I just froze," said Lusk, adding she may have touched him before she ran out of the room. "I don't even know -- I didn't look down -- that I even touched him. But I probably did."

Results from Lusk's polygraph test confirmed she had not taken part in the alleged oral sex. But by then, most of Prosser had already heard about the alleged incident.

On "20/20," the boy admitted his friends, who knew about the contact between him and Lusk, egged him on and urged him to have sexual contact with her. And afterward, he said talks about the incident as he described it spread rapidly and loudly through the small town.

Lusk said having to face her husband and her daughter afterward was most difficult part. But both decided to stand by the woman.

"She's not completely innocent, but she's not horrible," Lusk's daughter told "20/20." "She's also a victim, too. She was taken advantage of when she was very vulnerable and upset and sad."

Husband Kevin Lusk said he regrets that his wife didn't seek help after their son's death.

"You need to get it handled. You need to go talk to somebody. We didn't," he said.

The Lusk family is convinced it was the woman's grief that had made her unusually vulnerable. Her son, whom doctors had not expected to live even a week, had been completely dependent on her.

"If she hadn't suffered the loss from Taylor (her son) and if she hadn't been where she was, I'm positive this wouldn't have happened," said Linda and Kevin Lusk's daughter.

Even though she'd passed a polygraph test, Linda Lusk's family decided not to risk a jury trial as rumors swirled around the small town. She entered an Alford plea and reached a deal with prosecutors. Linda Lusk served three months in jail, and she must also register as a sex offender for 10 years as part of the plea.

"It's devastating, because I'm the kind of person that's always taking care of kids," she said. "So then to be told that I can't be around children -- it's just kind of hard to wrap your brain around it."

During and after the legal proceedings, Linda Lusk and her family found themselves at the center of numerous town rumors and mocking YouTube videos. Through all of it, Linda Lusk said her husband stood by her side.

"I always knew he was really amazing, but I am so blessed to have him as my husband," she said tearfully.

"I love my wife. I believe her. I support her," said Kevin Lusk.