Police arrested a former Philadelphia high school teacher for the second time for her relationship with a 16-year-old student when investigators received evidence suggesting that their relationship was more intimate than the 38-year-old initially said.
Melissa Bonkoski, a second-year teacher who was teaching Earth science and coaching softball, was taken into custody on Aug. 29 and charged with felony institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, unlawful use of a communications facility, and corruption of minors.
When questioned, Bonkoski said that the pair had kissed and touched each other but didn't say that they had intercourse, notes The Philly Voice. The student had previously only said that he had slept in her bed but later reportedly confessed that they had sex for the first time in December 2016.
Officials said that the former educator purchased a "burner" phone that she used exclusively to contact the student and told officers that she did not think anybody could trace the account back to her, according to The Daily Times News.
"I thought I was being smart," she reportedly told a police officer investigating the sexual harassment allegations against her.
Bonkoski, who was asked to resign as soon as the charges surfaced, had taught the student as a freshman. After she began texting him about matters not related to schoolwork and giving him rides home, things escalated.
The two kissed in her car more than once, and she had him touch her breasts, according to a complaint. He was reportedly "in shock" because he "never thought he would kiss a teacher."
"He was worried that he wouldn't get rides home anymore if he stopped kissing [Bonkoski]," says the complaint.
He also said that they had talked about oral sex.
Feeling guilty about the "extreme" nature of their relationship and cheating on his girlfriend, he cut off contact, but she reportedly continued harassing him.
"I was kinda hoping you would have called me back last night," she texted him before 6 a.m. on March 3, according to Philly Voice. "I really needed to talk."
The former teacher told investigators that for a period, she would "bombard" the victim with texts about memories they shared after he cut off contact with her in January. The victim's girlfriend later found those messages.
"Whatever you do, please don't shut me out," reads another of Bonkoski's messages. "Not now. I'm begging you."
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement that detectives "did an excellent job" getting to the bottom of the case with only a "small lead."
"Rule Number 1 if you are a teacher or a coach: Do not have sex with a student," he added. "Breaking this rule is a one-way ticket to arrest, losing your job, and prison. Not to mention the profound damage to the victim and the school community which you were entrusted to serve."
Sources: The Philly Voice, The Daily Times News / Featured Image: houstondwiPhotos mp/Flickr / Embedded Images: Redolta/Wikimedia Commons, Chester County District Attorney's Office via Daily Mail