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A former teacher has pleaded guilty to repeatedly molesting one of her sixth grade students.
Brittany Zamora, 28, took a plea deal Monday, admitting guilt to sexual conduct with a minor, attempted molestation and public sexual indecency, the Arizona Republic reports.
She was arrested last year while teaching at Las Brisas Academy Elementary School in Goodyear after the parents of one of her sixth grade students found disturbing texts on his phone.
“OMG, I love you,” one alleged text from the teacher to the victim read, according to documents obtained by KPNX in Phoenix. In another, she allegedly wrote, “Omg lol you’re so cute baby.”
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 allegedly asked another student to stand guard so she could make out with the victim at school while they prepared for said talent show, the Arizona Republic reported.
Zamora apparently got even bolder too. That report states that the two would touch each other sexually in the classroom as the students watched videos.
Earlier this year, police released recorded interviews with both the victim and the boy she asked to stand guard.
“I was one of the witnesses, one of the people that saw Ms. Zamora and my friend … touch each other,” the friend said, adding that he was told to keep the whole thing secret, according to News 12 in Phoenix.
Before her arrest, the victim’s parents called the teacher in a recorded phone call, according to KPNX. During that conversation, she apologized and could not explain the alleged abuse.
“I ask myself the same question,” Zamora told them. “I just got really close after I think everything went down and we’re like, ‘How could that happen?’ … We just got close.”
She also pleaded for her life to not be destroyed.
“I don’t want to say stuff and have me recorded right now and bring this to court and have me go to jail for the rest of my life,” she said.
She may very well spend a lot of time behind bars. Of the counts she pleaded guilty to, the sexual conduct with a minor charge lone can result in up to 27 years in prison. Her sentencing has been scheduled for July 12.
In addition to criminal consequences, the victims parents have also filed a civil lawsuit against Zamora, her husband and the school district, seeking $2.5 million in damages. 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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