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ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man who frequently checked a teenager out of school without her mother’s knowledge and fled to Mexico with her has pleaded guilty to corruption of a minor in a deal with prosecutors.

As part of Thursday’s deal, other charges including a felony were dropped against 45-year-old Kevin Esterly.

The Morning Call reports that Esterly apologized for what he did but said his relationship with 16-year-old Amy Yu was innocent and that of a protective father.

kevin esterly amy yu Man Who Fled to Mexico With Teen Takes Plea Deal

Credit: Allentown Police

Federal agents found Yu and Esterly in Playa del Carmen in March.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Matthew Falk says Yu says it was her idea to flee the country, and after she told Esterly, he decided to join her. She says he was like a father to her and denies the relationship was sexual.

Falk says the prosecution had been hindered in their pursuit of the felony charges because Yu has continued to stick with her version of events.

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)