Teen in Student-Teacher Sex Scandal Opens Up About Affair, Had Suicidal Thoughts

PHOTO: Jimmy Pallais, 17, and his adoptive parents sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC News "20/20."

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.

"Monday I came to my school early before...school [started], and I went to her classroom. And I walked straight to her, and I kissed her," Jimmy Pallais said. "When I stopped kissing her, I walked to my first class."

Jimmy Pallais said he then returned to Murray and asked her how she felt about the kiss.

"She told me, 'OK... I want you to kiss me again,' so that's when I kiss her again," Jimmy Pallais said.

Soon the relationship turned intimate. Jimmy Pallais said he and Murray had sex after school in Murry's classroom several times. On one occasion the two even checked into a nearby hotel. The tryst was confirmed by surveillance video showing Murray and Jimmy walking through the side door together.

The Secret Is Out

Jimmy Pallais and Murray's secret started to unravel when Jimmy's parents said they received a phone call from the principal, who told them that Jimmy had confided in another teacher that he had kissed Murray and the two had taken selfies showing them kissing. Jimmy had just turned 15.

Jenny Pallais said she also received a shocking text message from Murray intended for Jimmy. The message written partially in Spanish said, "You know I love you... I don't know what we're going to do, but we're going to be happy together... I'm worried about how obvious we are at school. I'm miss you."

Soon after, Jenny Pallais said her younger son Fernando, then 12, told her that he had walked in on Jimmy and Murray in bed together and saw her bra and condoms on the floor.

"Fernando came to me and says, 'Mom, I have something to tell you.'" Jenny Pallais said. "He says, 'She was here.' I said, 'What do you mean, she? Who is she?' He says, 'Kathryn Murray was here.' And I said 'What?' He says, 'Mom, they had sex.'"

Jenny Pallais said she quickly took everything she could from Jimmy's bedroom and called the police asking them to do DNA tests to prove Murray was in her own home.

"DNA from those sheets proved that she was there," Alex Pallais said.

The Teacher and Student Affair Finally Ends

The police interviewed both brothers and Jimmy eventually admitted to having sex with Murray. She was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child, but was released on bail and was ordered to stay away from Jimmy Pallais.

As months went by, Jimmy's mother said he began opening up to her about his sexual relationship with Murray. Then he eventually told police.

"It's, like, you had the boy with all the dreams, and then you have a boy, thinking that his life is over," Jenny Pallais said. "This is not your life. We brought you here to be happy, to have a future."

With Jimmy Pallais' testimony and hours of surveillance video from the school showing Jimmy and Murry leaving her classroom together, prosecutors charged Murray with two more counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of an improper relationship with a student and ordered her to wear an ankle bracelet.

But in spite of all they had been through, Jimmy Pallais started secretly seeing Murray again.

"All the [feelings] that I have for her came back," he said.

His parents hired a private investigator to follow him, and one night Jimmy Pallais and Murray were caught together at her father's house. The police were called and Murray was arrested again.

Murray, her family, and her defense team declined repeated requests from "20/20" for comment. They cited her ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder.

Jimmy Pallais, who has since received psychiatric treatment, said he is doing better and admits he still loves Murray, but not in the same way as before. When asked whether he will see Murray again, he said, "Maybe."

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