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Brittany Zamora, the former Arizona teacher who admitted to sexually abusing one of her 6th grade students, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars on Friday.
Twenty years was the minimum sentence that Zamora could have received for the charges of sexual conduct with a minor, attempted molestation of a child, and public sexual indecency. Zamora, 28, took a plea deal for those charges last month.
Zamora appeared in court on Friday with brown hair, in contrast to her mugshot, as her blonde hair had mostly grown out, the Arizona Republic reports. She has been in custody for 478 days.
A powerful statement from the victim's mother was read in court, which said her son has been changed forever. A lawsuit filed by the victim’s family has claimed that he now views women differently as a result of the abuse.
“I hate you for what you did to my son,” the statement read.
The boy's mother also spoke in person and got emotional.
“You hurt my family and created a horrible time frame in my son’s childhood he'll never be able to forget or change. Your mind is foul, your heart is sick and you disgust me! You deserve to leave prison when you're too old to bear children,” she said.
By the end of her statement she was yelling, telling Zamora that everyone hates a child molester, according to 12 News in Phoenix.
As for the victim’s father, who was not present, he said in a statement read by the family’s lawyer, “I hope you spend every waking moment in your prison cell thinking about the horrendous crime you committed that got you behind bars. Now you'll spend the rest of your youth and most of your adulthood in jail."
He went on to state that his “son will grow up, have a good life, get married and have children of his own. I will not allow you to interfere in my son’s life further. Good triumphs over evil and you're just a dark shadow and our family will defeat you."
Allegations that the former teacher was grooming another boy were addressed in court. As that boy's mother spoke, Zamora nodded her head “no” when she accused her of trying to groom her son, 12 News reports. A full police report, obtained and reviewed by The Arizona Republic, revealed Zamora allegedly promised to send that boy nudes. She also allegedly asked that boy if he was circumcised and when he seemed befuddled by the question she showed him pictures of male genitalia on her phone to make the question more clear. That boy was a friend of the first victim and reportedly stood guard during at least one instance of sexual abuse. Oxygen.com reached out to the Maricopa County to inquire whether Zamora will be charged in connection with additional victims. They have not immediately responded with a comment.
Zamora’s mom also gave a statement in court, claiming that her daughter “is remorseful,” and stating that she is “not a monster but a beautiful person.”
Zamora herself told Judge Stephens she was sorry and that she truly regrets what happened.
“My actions are completely out of place for me,” she said, according to ABC15. “I’m not a threat to society by any means.”
Additionally, she said “I’m ashamed of my actions and completely remorseful and regret what took place.”
She told the judge she won Teacher of the Year in 2016, Fox 10 in Phoenix reports.
The former teacher's lawyer asked for the minimum sentence, which is just what happened. Although some expressed rage about the sentence on social media, Steve Weinberger, attorney for the victim's family told reporters the sentencing was a victory.
"She'll now pay the ultimate price,” he said.
He added Zamora is not the only one to blame for the abuse. He also cast blame on the school for "looking the other way."
The victim's parents filed a civil lawsuit against Zamora, her husband and the school district, seeking $2.5 million in damages. A settlement has been reached between the victim’s family and Zamora’s husband, the Arizona Republic reported Friday morning. The husband has been accused of covering for Zamora and coaching her to ask the victim’s family to not press charges. The lawsuit accused him of failing to alert the police after finding out about his wife’s actions. Weinberger said that part of the suit was settled months ago for an undisclosed amount. He said his clients are now setting their sights on the Liberty School District.
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