Crime

Teacher Faces Over 230 Counts Of Sex Crimes

| by Michael Doherty

A high school teacher in Pennsylvania faces over 230 counts of various charges, including sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, dissemination of obscene materials, and institutional sexual assault.

The charges come after Bishop McDevitt High School social studies teacher Randi Zurenko, 33, allegedly had inappropriate relationships with two female students from 2013 to 2016, WGAL reports. Zurenko faces 232 counts, 153 of which are for sexual abuse of children.

The DA's office said that Zurenko had "an encounter" with the first victim in a park before the student graduated in 2013. Zurenko allegedly massaged the student's back and undid her bra, as well as giving her alcohol several times after the meeting.

"The use of alcohol is common because it lowers inhibitions," said Delilah Rumburg, the CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, according to WHTM.

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"Sexual violence is a widespread problem in Pennsylvania," Rumburg added. "Whether or not it's consensual, it's an abuse of power. And we should absolutely treat it as seriously as any other type of sexual violence."

Zurenko's relationship with the second victim reportedly began when the student was 16. Police found numerous pictures of the teacher and student performing sexual acts with each other.

Zurenko is alleged to have had over 111 nude images of the second victim saved on her phone. The teacher also admitted to sending at least 20 nude photos of herself to the girl, as well as receiving photos from her.

The "sexual encounters" with the second victim reportedly took place at Zurenko's home, as well as a number of locations including Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to authorities.

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Bishop McDevitt officials placed Zurenko on administrative leave after they became aware of the investigation, Penn Live reports.

"It is with great sadness that Bishop McDevitt High School has learned that criminal charges have been filed against staff member Mrs. Randi Zurenko, a Social Studies teacher," the school said in a statement. "School administrators were advised by authorities on October 18, 2016, of the existence of an investigation into an allegation of an improper relationship with a student."

"This is something that affects a community as well as just affecting the particular children that were abused, " said Deputy District Attorney Sean McCormack.

Rumburg warned that parents should "pay attention to what's going on" with their children to help stop abuse.

"Listen to those rumors and have those conversations with your children," she said. "Prevention is possible, and it's everyone’s responsibility."

"Everyone in our community has a responsibility to pay attention to what's going on, intervene or report any suspicions of abuse," Rumburg added.

Sources: WGAL, WHTM, Penn Live / Photo Credit: Bryan McDonald/Flickr

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