BELFAST —A Winslow man who taught automotive technology at the Waldo County Technical Center has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 17-year-old student.

WABI-TV reports that 46-year-old Michael Gagnon pleaded guilty Tuesday to gross sexual assault.

He was given a deferred sentence, meaning if he stays out of legal trouble for a year, he can withdraw the plea and instead plead guilty to the less serious charge of assault, which carries a two-month jail sentence.

The district attorney says it would have been difficult to convict Gagnon at trial since a judge ruled his statements to police couldn’t be used as evidence and the student would have had a hard time testifying.

Police say Gagnon assaulted the girl when he took her on “test drives” of vehicles worked on by other students.