Teachers are increasingly being arrested for having intimate relations with their students in the US. Many female teachers have been arrested in the past few months over having sex with their own students, with one teacher even going to the extent of doing it at the student’s own home. Most often these relationships were heterosexual and teachers have been arrested and cases are ongoing against them.
But the case of Randi Zurenko, a 33-year-old former teacher at a private high school in Pennsylvania is different than the past such cases that came into open. The woman who has been sentenced to 23 months in prison reportedly molested two of her female students. The woman was indicted and charged in the case on July 13.
Authorities claim that the woman has exploited the two students not once or twice, but over a long period of three years. The mother of five children, the former teacher has reportedly been branded a “predator” who manipulated her victims after she was accused of more than 200 sex charges.
Randi Zurenko told a court in Pennsylvania, “I am ashamed to be here…I have never coerced anyone. I have never taken advantage of anyone”.
If that was not enough, the female teacher tried to seek leniency from the court on the ground of her five young children. “I’m asking you today for grace and mercy and to take my children into consideration when you determine my sentence” she pleaded before the court.
The woman, who taught at private Bishop McDevitt High School was suspended from work after she was arrested last autumn over the scandal involving the two girls aged 16 and 17.
Documents claim that the suspect, took the first victim to a park where she massaged the girl’s back and undid her bra in January 2013. Court documents suggest that in the following days the two have had sex several times. The suspect even went to the extent of taking photos of some of the acts and of the teenager in various states of undress.
Police officers have told the court that they actually found numerous nude pictures of the second teen and snaps of the student having sex with Zurenko on the teacher’s phone.
There is no denying that the long sexual exploitation of the two children caused serious psychological impact on the students. One of the victims told yesterday’s hearing Zurenko manipulated her into a sexual relationship which led her into a pit of psychological darkness. Court documents suggest that the girlfell into deep depression, became isolated from family and friends, cut herself and thought of suicide. While inside the court, the student told Zurenko, “You stunted my growth because I depended on you…I felt so confused and abandoned and trapped. I trusted nobody. You took everything that was mine…You took my innocence. You used my love.”
Documents suggest that the Zurenko’s relationships with her two female students began in January 2013 and lasted until October 14, 2016, when she was arrested. One of the victim’s father told Penn Live, “My daughter lost three years of her life…You will always be a molester, a predator. You deserve no grace, no chance at rehabilitation. You deserve no success.”
But the woman’s lawyer sought leniency for the teacher and said the woman was truly in love with her students. Lee Cohen, her lawyer, asked for Judge Richard A. Lewis to have leniency saying Zurenko was “truly in love with her victims”.
In the meantime, the second victim sided with her former teacher, telling the courtroom to have leniency despite the sexual assaults, she said that ever since then, she’s “kept it together” and is “still OK.”