A former Pennsylvania teacher has been sentenced to prison for having sex with multiple students.
Lauren Harrington-Cooper, a former English teacher at Wyoming Valley West High School in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to charges of felony sexual contact and two felony corruption of a minor charges. Reports say that Harrington-Cooper’s sexual activities came to light last year when the parents of an 18-year-old student noticed inappropriate text messages on their son’s phone.
Harrington-Cooper, 31, was arrested in December after the victim came forward and confessed to having a sexual relationship with his teacher. The next month, the teacher faced more charges when a 17-year-old came forward with brand new allegations that included inappropriate text messages and oral sex. Soon after, Harrington-Cooper faced additional charges for having “sexually explicit conversations” with two other boys ages 17 and 16. She even reportedly showed those two her breasts in her classroom.
“The defendant was in a position of authority with these students and she took advantage of that,” said Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts. “They’re just happy to move on with their lives.”
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In court, Harrington-Cooper’s attorney Joe D’Andrea made clear that she accepted responsibility for her actions and claimed that psychological issues were likely to blame for her behavior.
“She has been diagnosed with some significant psychological issues of inadequacy,” said D’Andrea. “You would think that she’s a pretty, young girl, that she would feel good about herself. But her self-esteem issues have really troubled her all of her life, and she found comfort and solace in some people giving her attention, as wrong as it was. She acted out on some serious impulses and hopefully therapy and some other things will get her through this.”
Harrington-Cooper has been sentenced to nine to 23 months in prison and she will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years. The 31-year-old, who is married, will not be allowed to work with children again.
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Sources: Huffington Post, Times Leader, Citizens Voice