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Crime News Crimes Of The Year

From Sexual Relations To Attempted Hypnosis: The Most Unsettling Teacher Scandals Of 2018

These educators were accused of preying on their students and taking advantage of a power dynamic that's supposed to guide students in the right direction in life.

By Gina Tron

Teachers are not just there to assign homework: They are also supposed to be role models while also setting their students on decent moral paths. But it’s tough to look up to such educators when they’re not only not doing their jobs properly, but when they’re also getting cuffed for getting down and dirty — with their own students no less.

Almost every week across the country it seems like there is a teacher being accused of using their classroom power to take advantage of their pupils, and 2018 had no shortage of teachers who were accused of crossing professional boundaries. From sexting to sexual assault, many educators could do with going back to class themselves and taking better notes on how to behave appropriately with the kids they’re meant to be preparing for the real world.

This year marked a year full of some pretty disturbing scandals, and we rounded up some of the most unsettling ones.

1. Stephanie Peterson

This former middle school teacher in Florida admitted having sex with her 8th-grade student. Peterson (pictured), 27, sexually assaulted the boy multiple times, including in her car, at her home and behind a barn near the victim’s house.

After the 14-year-old boy told his mother about the sexual assaults, Peterson reportedly told the boy over Snapchat, “Please tell her it was the worst decision of my life and I know it was and idk where my brain was but that I somehow fell in love with you briefly and idk why and I’ll never be the same person because of it” before telling him “I hate you” and ordering him to “delete everything.”

Her lawyers, however, claimed the kid was a "willing participant," and because of that, they asked for a lighter sentence, but she was given three years behind bars anyway.

2. Andrea Jimenez

Jimenez was also former middle school teacher from Florida who allegedly tried to have sex with her student. In her case, the student was in the sixth grade.

The 47-year-old is accused of trying to lure the 13-year-old student into lewd acts, showering him with gifts and professions of her love.

“I will go to hell for u. Die for u stop eating to feed u. My love for u is so real and huge !!! I don’t mind facing the devil himself for u,” one alleged message read, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach. Jimenez also bought gifts for the child as she pleaded with him not to talk to girls his own age, authorities claim.

Jimenez was fired, and a spokesperson for her former employer, Doral International Math & Science Academy, told local NBC affiliate WPTV that the investigation into the case remains ongoing.

3. Brittany Zamora

Zamora, 27, worked as a sixth-grade teacher from Arizona who allegedly lured a 13-year-old student into a sexual relationship. That’s disturbing enough, but the alleged texts she sent to this student are extra-unsettling.  

Zamora, who happens to be married, allegedly sent one text that read, “OMG, I love you,” and in another, she allegedly wrote, “Omg lol you’re so cute baby. I wish you could’ve stayed after with me.”

Zamora also allegedly sent nudes to the boy, and was accused of having at least four sexual encounters with him this year. In one alleged incident, Zamora assaulted the boy in her car after a talent show.

4. Ramsey Bearse

A former Miss Kentucky, 28-year-old Bearse was unfortunately in the spotlight for a different reason this year: She allegedly sent nude pictures to a 15-year-old former student from a school she worked at in West Virginia. Authorities claimed Bearse admitted to sending the nudes to the teen over Snapchat.

The scandal seems like a lifetime from when she impressed pageant judges with her fiddling abilities before taking home the Miss Kentucky crown back in 2014.

5. Allyson Moran

Not only was Moran, 27, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student, she was chastised by a judge for trying to blame the assault on the victim, the Lansing State Journal reports.

When she was first caught, she texted a friend of the victim, lamenting that the boy had come forward. She said the teenage victim had “ruined her life, that she was going to die, why did (he) tell?" according to court records cited by the State Journal.

The former substitute teacher, who worked at Stockbridge High School in Michigan, was sentenced to 25 months to 15 years in prison for third-degree sexual assault.

6. Jennifer Walsh

Walsh, a 26-year-old special education teacher, allegedly had sex with one of her female students at Sycamore High School in Montgomery, Ohio. A school spokesperson told  WCPO, a Cincinnati-based outlet, that the student is not disabled, however, and that the incidents did not take place on school property.

Still, Walsh has been indicted by a grand jury on two counts of sexual battery for alleged months’ worth of abuse.

7. James Mentzer

This third-grade teacher’s alleged crimes read more like a cult leader than the other examples. Mentzer, 39, from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania was accused of trying to hypnotize his female students and making them call him “master.” He allegedly had inappropriate contact with five female students, aged 8, 9, and 11, according to WPMT in York, Pennsylvania.

Some of the victims were reportedly taken out of class and brought into an empty room. Mentzer then allegedly forced some of them to recite an “oath” in which they referred to him as their “master,” and promised to obey him.

One victim claimed Mentzer swung a necklace in front of her face, and asked her to follow it with her eyes. She was allegedly told to say, “I will obey you, master” and “I will obey your commands, master,” while the teacher reportedly recorded the incident, according to WPMT.

Additionally, he is also said to have allegedly filmed some of the victims while forcing them to perform a puppet show.

8. Dori Myers

Myers, 29, who taught at The New School for Leadership and the Arts in the Bronx, New York was accused this year of performing oral sex on one of her 14-year-old students, according to The Associated Press.

Myers and her husband, who works in law enforcement, live in Garnerville, New York. Her lawyer defended her by calling her a “model educator.”

However, Myers dodged prison time and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation in September, according to the New York Post. The Department of Education said she is no longer eligible to work in New York City schools.

10. Talia Sisco and Tina Pourani

This duo, a former middle school teacher’s assistant and her friend in California, preyed on teenage boys and bragged about being “sexual deviants” who were going to hell, authorities told Oxygen.com.

Talia Sisco and Tina Pourani, both 24, were best friends since high school who allegedly began targeting boys from the local high school in Santa Clara County, California, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Sisco at the time was a teacher’s assistant at Bernal Intermediate School in San Jose. The two friends allegedly targeted at least three teenage boys over 2018.

Police officials told Oxygen.com that the pals “actually described each other as 'sexual deviants,' and they even said they were going to hell for their actions.”

[Photo Credit: Volusia County Sheriff's Office]