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A lawsuit filed against former Arizona teacher Brittany Zamora, who has admitted to sexually abusing one of her sixth grade students, reveals disturbing details about how that abuse may have affected the victim.
Zamora, 28, took a plea deal last month, admitting guilt to sexual conduct with a minor, attempted molestation and public sexual indecency. She is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
In addition to whatever prison sentence she may receive, the victim's parents have also filed a civil lawsuit against Zamora, her husband and the school district, seeking $2.5 million in damages.
That lawsuit, obtained by Oxygen.com, states that the boy "will experience severe emotional and psychological symptoms due to the sexual abuse he experienced."
The boy’s mom claims that he has changed.
"He is different with her [his mother]," the lawsuit notes. "He no longer looks at any female including his mother the same now that Zamora has worked her black magic.”
The mother "can feel the difference in him and the way he treats [her] but she cannot read his mind and she cannot make him well again."
His father feels the same, according to the lawsuit, and notes that he looks at his stepmom differently, too.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Richard Gartner, who co-founded "Male Survivor," formerly the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization, evaluated the victim in 2018, according to the lawsuit.
Gartner noted that while the boy is not yet exhibiting obvious signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, he said it is very possible it will develop later in life. He said it is difficult to predict what specific symptoms the boy will likely develop "in the years and decades ahead."
He said the boy "has shown signs that he can become explosive if angry feelings break through his capacity to manage them." He went on to say that it's common for sexually abused men to get into compulsive behaviors like alcoholism, drug addiction, workaholism and compulsive spending.
Gartner said the victim should be watched and supported now and into the future.
The lawsuit notes that boys with sexual abuse histories show many of the same issues as sexually abused girls yet "masculine gender socialization tends to make boys much less likely than girls to acknowledge that abuse took place, or, if the abuse is acknowledged, that the boy was hurt in any way by the experience. This comes from a general, usually unconscious, feeling that being a victim is 'feminine,' and therefore that to acknowledge victimhood of any kind makes a boy less masculine."
In his book “Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men,” Gartner states that “boys are socialized to believe that men want sex whenever it is offered to them" and thus young male victims are often depicted as lucky instead of as victims.
Zamora was arrested last year after the parents of one of her sixth grade students found disturbing texts on his phone.
“OMG, I love you,” one text from the teacher to the victim read, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com. In another, she wrote, “Omg lol you’re so cute baby.”
In yet another, she wrote, "If I could quit my job and _____ you all day I would."
She and the 13-year-old student began chatting on an online instruction app called Class Craft.
Zamora was also accused of sending nudes to him. Later, the teen told police that he and Zamora had at least four sexual encounters in 2018, including once in her car after a talent show. During another incident, she authorities say asked another student to stand guard so she could make out with the victim at school while they prepared for said talent show.
Zamora apparently got even bolder too: the student told police the two would touch each other sexually in the classroom as the rest of the class watched videos.
Earlier this year, police released recorded interviews with both the victim and the boy she asked to stand guard.
The lawsuit contends that the school did not properly monitor conversations between teachers and students on the Class Craft app. It also alleges that three students complained in written statements about their teacher’s relationship with the victim, complaints the school allegedly ignored.
"We did investigate," Richard Rundhaug, the school district's interim superintendent, told the Arizona Republic in a previous interview about the case. "We determined there were some elements of favoritism, and we gave the teacher some very specific direction on not allowing that favoritism to continue, and then we monitored to make sure those directions were followed."
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